The inscription could be translated as:
On the mirror-clear lake, the floating reflection stirs clear ripples,
An unbridled traveller steers his boat and escapes to the dark sea.
This style of lacquer decoration with delicate mother-of-pearl inlays seems to have come to prominence in the latter part of the Kangxi reign. Many examples depict figures in landscape or garden scenes, and some are taken from woodblock prints, as in the case of a square dish exhibited in Hong Kong (illustrated in 2000 Years of Chinese Lacquer, Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong and Art Gallery, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1993, pp. 184-5, no. 96), the scene on which is taken from the Yuzhi Gengzhi tu (Imperial Edition of Pictures of Tilling and Weaving), which was printed in 1712.
A porcelain dish decorated in similar style to the present brushpot from the Grandidier Collection is now in the Musée Guimet, Paris, illustrated in The World's Great Collections - Oriental Ceramics, vol. 7, Musée Guimet, Kodansha International, Tokyo/New York/San Francisco, 1981, no. 157. A baluster vase decorated in this similar style was sold in these Rooms, 17 June 2003, lot 66. A similar vase from the collection of George de Menasce, OBE, was illustrated in the Spink & Sons, London, catalogue in 1971, p. 51, no. 206. Compare also the larger and slightly later vase decorated in this style, sold in our New York Rooms, 16 September 1998, lot 51.