The story of imari
In the run-up to the holiday season I am working my way through lots of exciting new stock, and many of the pieces I am adding are in the Imari style. People often ask me where it came from, so here goes...
The Imari style is a Japanese style on porcelain from the Arita area. The Japanese exported lots of this to China and Europe from the 17th and 18th Century through exclusive trade links with China, Portugal and The Netherlands - as Japan was otherwise a reclusive country. The wares were shipped out of the harbour of Imari, hence the name.
As the trade relationships were so complicated, the Chinese then started copying it in large numbers to satisfy demand in the West. So you can find many beautiful Chinese Imari designs on the so-called Chinese Export porcelain.
Once English porcelain makers started to replace the imports from China, which had become troublesome themselves both because of political instability in China and the way the china dealers in London were rigging the auctions, the English let themselves loose on this style and created their own version.
In the beginning the patterns remained very close to the originals, but gradually the style became more and more English, mixing in all kinds of Victorian details such as flower garlands and animals. My favourite Imari style is the early 19th Century English style, when decorators tried to stay very close to the Japanese originals yet they started to betray their English way of painting things: there is a pleasing softness about it while the original Japanese items often look more bold and strong.
You can see several new Imari items in the images here... and I will keep adding things over the next few weeks so keep an eye on the "This Week's New Treasures" section in my newsletters!
Where to find things
You can find all my Imari items here in my shop; (including one Japanese set of cups and saucers!). You can find all my available stock here - and watch this space as I will be bringing out lots of new stock each of the next 8 weeks. If you always want to see the latest additions, follow me on Instagram... I post pictures and a story every single day.
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This week's new treasures: