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"Rich Imari" or "Crazy Japan"

This week let's look at a very popular pattern: the "Rich Imari" or "Crazy Japan" pattern, first designed by Barr, Flight and Barr, re-designed in several ways, and also copied by various other factories.

This famous pattern was first designed around 1810 and it was simply called "Japan". It was a very popular style at the time, inspired by porcelain that had been imported to European countries from Japan during the 18th Century and shipped out of the harbour of Imari - which is why today we call this style "Imari".

Today, this particular pattern is usually called "Rich Imari" and sometimes "Crazy Japan" - you can probably see why!

In 1811 the newly installed Prince Regent and later King George IV commissioned a huge service consisting of hundreds of pieces in this pattern. It was for use in his equally outrageously designed seaside Pavilion in Brighton. Although the pattern was already being produced and quite popular, it was the Prince Regent who turned it into a fashion; once he owned a service, of course everyone else wanted one, too. And that's where many different versions started to appear, re-designed by the Flight & Barr factory (at the time called Barr, Flight & Barr, and then later Flight, Barr & Barr), and later also copied by the likes of Spode and Coalport.

The Prince Regent, who would have chosen the pattern from a pattern book, had his own slightly different version created with his own coat of arms, but there are also later versions, some with their own names such as "Imari Fence".

You will see that the pattern consists of a jumble of Japanese Imari-inspired bright flowers, trees, birds, rocks, stars, a bridge, a pagoda and a fence in wonderfully clashing colours, beautifully painted and gilded with bold strokes. The panels (in typical Imari style) are separated by dividing panels with "mons", the stylised Japanese chrysanthemum flowers that symbolise prosperity. The colour scheme is nothing less than shocking, and there are always new elements to be discovered.

I currently have several pieces available, and have sold so many over the years. But every time I come across a good one, it delights me all over again - and usually they don't remain in my shop for long as collectors often snap them up. Have a look at this beautiful milk jug, small plate, and a whole set of 8 plates in the closely related "Imari Fence" pattern.

Where to find stock

You can find all my Imari pieces here, and all my available stock is here. If you want to stay up to date with new additions, find me on Instagram, where I put up pictures with a story several times a week.

Happy weekend, and who said red doesn't go with pink? ❤️💓❤️💓❤️

The Brighton Pavilion, the rather crazy Indian Raj style building the Prince Regent built for himself, which the large Rich Imari service was commissioned for. Photo credit: Qmin, Wikimedia


This week's treasures:​



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