Only one other Yongzheng famille rose bowl with this design appears to be published, in the Avery Brundage Collection, illustrated by Beurdeley in La Céramique Chinoise, no. 130. Three bowls decorated in famille verte enamels with Yongzheng yuzhi marks are known, including as lot 551 in the present sale; one in the Musée Guimet, Paris, illustrated in Oriental Ceramics, The World's Great Collections, vol. 7, col. pl. 45; and another previously from the Fonthill Abbey, included in the Oriental Ceramic Society exhibition, Iron in the Fire, 1988, and illustrated in the Catalogue, no. 94.
The continuous design on the present bowl is exactly matched with the earlier prototype as seen on the famille verte bowl in the following lot. The style and technique of decoration, however, have developed considerably on the slightly later Yongzheng version, with more practised use of the famille rose palette which allowed a wider range of colours to be employed. The opaque colours, in particular the new opaque white enamel, also permitted fine subtle shading and mixing of pastel colours, giving the flowers a more naturalistic and painterly appearance. This white enamel, together with a brilliant cobalt blue, a true pink made from colloidal gold, and an opaque yellow, were the four most important among the new enamel colours that were invented in the years between the end of Kangxi's reign and the beginning of Yongzheng's. Both emperors took a keen interest in scientific advances and in the production of imperial porcelain, and under the patronage of the emperor Yongzheng, the overall quality of imperial porcelain reached the zenith of ceramic art.
The composition of this piece is also exquisitely balanced, with a combination of large blossoms and clusters of small flowers among grass evenly spaced across the curved surface. The scene, therefore, appears to unscroll to reveal a panoramic view of a lush garden.