Kakiemon decoration is a distinctive style of Japanese porcelain that emerged in the late 17th century. Named after its creator, Sakaida Kakiemon, this style of porcelain is characterized by its delicate, elegant, and colourful designs featuring motifs such as birds, flowers, and landscapes. The decorations are typically set against a milky-white, translucent background called “Nigoshide.” Kakiemon porcelain became highly sought after in Europe, particularly in the 18th century.
During the 18th century, English porcelain manufacturers began producing their own versions of Kakiemon decoration in an attempt to cater to the high demand for these exquisite pieces. These English copies were influenced by the Japanese originals but were adapted to local tastes and materials. Some of the most prominent manufacturers of English Kakiemon-style porcelain during this period include Bow, Chelsea, and Worcester.
English copies of Kakiemon decoration (such as those by Bow) often retained the characteristic colour palette, which included iron red, blue, green, and yellow overglaze enamels. The designs, however, often diverged from the Japanese originals, as English craftsmen reinterpreted the motifs and compositions to suit the Western market. This led to the creation of new patterns and styles, while still retaining the essence of the Kakiemon aesthetic.
These English adaptations of Kakiemon decoration were well-received in Europe, where they were considered exotic and fashionable. As a result, Kakiemon-style porcelain produced in England played a significant role in the development of English ceramic art during the 18th century. Collectors and enthusiasts today continue to appreciate the beauty and historical significance of these English Kakiemon-inspired pieces.
Chocolate Pot, decorated in the Kakiemon palette, after the Japanese. Bow Porcelain Factory c. 1755. $18,000
Find this exceptional piece at Etruria Antiques: etruria.com.au
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