The primary European-subject panels and the ruby landscape vignettes exhibit the total technical control and superb artistry of the Qianlong-period enamellers at their zenith. Palace enamellers used the artistic device of stippling to create the gradation of shade or colour by the application of a multitude of tiny dots. This allowed for wide variation in intensity of colour without constantly changing the saturation of the enamel.
Westerners garbed in European clothing and set in pastoral landscapes were a popular subject-matter for enamelware, reflecting the predilection at the Imperial court for Occidentalism, and the Qianlong emperor's love of novelty and the exotic. These romanticised vignettes also complement the European-derived techniques of enamelling and chiaroscuro. For a further discussion on the use of puce enamel decoration, refer to the footnote for lot 1670 in the present sale.
Compare the present cup with a smaller Beijing enamel cup with very similar handles and use of decorative techniques, sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30 May 2006, lot 1569.