English Imari


In the previous 2 weeks I have shown a very early tea service made by Thomas Rose from about 1800, and then a more sophisticated one by New Hall from about 1810. Today I have a next tea service by John Rose, the elder brother of Thomas Rose. This one was made in about 1815 in early bone china and decorated with what by then had become a beautiful English style of Imari.

This exact pattern was also done by Spode, and I've seen it on Derby items as well. Where at first the English copied the Japanese and Chinese Imari designs they were used to from the imported porcelain of the 18th Century, gradually they became masters in developing their very own Imari designs, that remained popular until well into the 20th Century - and in fact Royal Crown Derby still makes some.


Imari designs were originally from the Japanese Arita area, and as these wares were shipped out of the harbour of Imari, they became known as "Imari" in the west. Usually it is a pattern of exotic flowers that are separated in panels, in a cobalt blue, red or orange, green and gilt colour scheme. There are endless variations on this theme and this beautiful tea service is a really stunning one.