Lately I have featured several "Imari" designs in my shop and today I have a beautiful and very rare little tea service made by Wileman in 1889.
But what is Imari? The Imari style is named after the Japanese city Imari, because that's from where Japanese porcelain was traditionally shipped to the Netherlands to be traded in the West. These items were usually decorated in a colour palette of orange, cobalt blue or black, and gilt. So gradually this colour combination was dubbed "Imari". It became hugely popular and was soon imitated in China for export to European customers.
Once the English started to produce their own porcelain, designers quickly took to this style and made it their own. They developed their own very British version, often mixing in English ingredients such as roses and garlands.
This little Wileman tea service from 1889 is special in the sense that I recently came across an 18th Century Japanese teapot that looked almost identical to this one! Did Wileman know about this pot, and did they copy their famous "Alexandra" style from it, the way they fashioned the pattern after the Japanese Imari style? Or is this an amazing coincidence of two designers inventing the same design about 100 years and thousands of miles apart?
You can ponder upon this riddle over a fine cup of tea as this very rare service is available in my shop, together with many other treasures... and have a wonderful weekend!
this week's new treasures:
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