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Resarching a Blue and White Snuff bottle collection in Scotland

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Author Topic: Resarching a Blue and White Snuff bottle collection in Scotland  (Read 1119 times)
Patricia
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« on: August 15, 2023, 04:58:34 am »

Dear Members,

I am researching and cataloguing a collection of 35 snuff bottles acquired before 1932, which belong to the National Trust for Scotland. With the exception of an "egg and spinach" type bottle, the others are all painted in underglaze blue or with copper red. I believe they were probably bought as a large group assembled in China. The stoppers are all similar, and one has a paper inscriptions in Chinese characters. I have with the the assistance of your forum identified many of the subjects, but there are a few I would appreciate some help with.

General questions:

Do you know of any larger or large early collection of just B&W snuff bottles, or is this quite a rare collection of its time? I found a copy of Joseph Baruch Silver's 2007 catalogue, as I have seen his posts on this forum and there are quite a few examples in it, which was very helpful.

Is there an article or catalogue that goes into more depth about the subject matter depicted. I find it so fascinating to learn of these Chinese legends and operas that are not depicted on export wares. I have really appreciated the comments of "Richard Stoneman" in deciphering the subjects.

Are there links between the Inside Painted Bottles and the Underglaze blue bottles? Did one fashion gradually cease with the rise of IPB?

Was there a moment in China pre-1932, when the collectors/owners of these bottles needed to sell them, are there any articles that talk about who in China owned these bottles, obviously they were well educated in Chinese classics and opera, as few required inscriptions identifying the topics. Were they commissioned? I don't have the sense they were mass-produced, and the painters may have also seen the latest theatrical productions.

I am not a member of the ICSBCS and no UK public library has the journal. I have seen a few articles listed on their journal index on B&W porcelain examples, but haven't read any of them.

I have attached a screenshot of the various bottles, and will post specific questions under blue and white bottles.

Many thanks,

Patricia


* Screen Shot 2023-08-07 at 21.08.25.png (619.32 KB, 483x802 - viewed 40 times.)
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Joey Silver / Si Zhouyi 義周司
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2023, 07:50:16 am »

WOW!
Amazing collection of Underglazed cobalt Blue and White and some copper red,
Decorated snuff bottles !
I’m happy to help in any way I can.
I’m in Dubai UAE, till 24.August, then I return home to Jerusalem Israel.
I have most of my B&Ws there , and some of the literature.
Best Wishes,
Joey Silver
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Joey Silver (Si Zhouyi 義周司), collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2023, 12:12:40 pm »

Welcome Patricia.

Some beautiful bottles. For the best results it would be good to post each individually with multiple images including top and bottom so members can help better. There is a section for porcelains.

Glad you found us and look forward to learning about each of these along with you.
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Patricia
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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2023, 12:40:07 pm »

Dear Joey and George (if I may),

Thank you so much for your positive replies.

I will post individual bottles with my notes over the next few weeks. Really appreciate any thoughts or information.

Best
Patricia
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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2023, 03:37:07 pm »

Dear Patricia,
welcome here. For sure you will have a great assitance from the people you mentioned, Joey Silver, Charll Stoneman and Richard Baey (not Stoneman Richard Grin, they are two members).
There are high chances that this will be a very interesting topic.
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2023, 04:34:41 pm »

Dear Patricia,

  Of course you may address me as Joey, and I know George,
being from Washington state, doesn’t stand on ceremony any
more than I do.

   Have you seen the V & A’s catalogue of their snuff bottles acquired
before 1890, if my memory serves me well?
For some reason, I remember a group of B & W snuff bottles in the collection.

   As well, I was a guest in a large country house near Bray, Co. Wicklow,
Ireland, and they had two rooms, each filled with porcelains.
One featured Wedgwood Blue, but the other featured only Chinese B & W,
including at least 12 snuff bottles.
The property was the seat of Sir Mark and Lady Hala Cochrane.
I was the guest of his brother, Alfred Cochrane, a noted Irish architect and designer.
And Marlborough House,near Blessington, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, has a collection of
Chinese B & Ws.
Finally, The Lady Lever Gallery in Port Sunlight, across the river from Liverpool,
Has a collection of snuff bottles including some fine examples of B & Ws.

Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver (Si Zhouyi 義周司), collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2023, 09:10:56 pm »

Welcome, Patricia!

Nice collection! I can see many interesting subjects in the collection. Looking forward to the details for each bottle.

Thanks for clarifying, Giovanni!

Regards.


Richard
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2023, 04:45:33 am »

Dear Patricia,

 What is an “Egg and Spinach” snuff bottle when it’s at home? Roll Eyes Shocked Grin

And I realise that none of the responders has answered your query,
As to a connection between B & W porcelain snuff bottles and
Interior Painted snuff bottles.
As far as we know, there is none.
Porcelain snuff bottles are made in Jingdezhen, including those for
The Imperial Court. Imperial Enameled porcelain snuff bottles
Were enameled in the Imperial Enameling Workshop in Beijing,
But the blanks were still made in Jingdezhen.

It seems that Interior Painted snuff bottles were invented
in the last years of The Qianlong reign in Guangzhou (Canton),
possibly imitating European reverse Painted glass decoration
being made there for export to Europe and the United States.
The Chinese Trade Museum in Essex, MA (now known as the PEM,
Peabody Essex Museum) has some fine examples.
We don’t actually know for sure, but the earliest documented
examples have late Qianlong or early Jiaqing dates in the inscriptions,
And there’s no valid reason to doubt them.
Best,
Joey
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Joey Silver (Si Zhouyi 義周司), collecting snuff bottles since Feb.1970

Fiveroosters aka clayandbrush
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2023, 07:52:36 am »

Dear Patricia,
you said that the collection has 35 snuff bottles, and one of them is decorated with the “egg and spinach” pattern, but I do not see it among the 35 bottles that you have shown.
For your research, the catalog of the b&w snuff bottles collection of Joey is the best reference, for what I know. If it may help, you can see 25 underglaze blue and copper red bottles in my online collection:
https://www.xipangu.co.uk/mangialupo/?product_cat=ceramic
Dear Joey, “egg and spinach” is a type of decoration that was specially made under Kangxi. Basically, it is made by applying splashes of green, brown, yellow, and white enamels on a biscuit body.
It is most seen on bowls, less commonly on vases and rarely on snuff bottles.
At the following link you will see a snuff bottle example:
https://drouot.com/en/l/18967884-snuff-bottle-porzellan-botella-de-soporte-porcelana-vidriado
Kind regards
Giovanni
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Patricia
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« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2023, 03:37:03 pm »

Dear Patricia,
you said that the collection has 35 snuff bottles, and one of them is decorated with the “egg and spinach” pattern, but I do not see it among the 35 bottles that you have shown.
For your research, the catalog of the b&w snuff bottles collection of Joey is the best reference, for what I know. If it may help, you can see 25 underglaze blue and copper red bottles in my online collection:
https://www.xipangu.co.uk/mangialupo/?product_cat=ceramic
Dear Joey, “egg and spinach” is a type of decoration that was specially made under Kangxi. Basically, it is made by applying splashes of green, brown, yellow, and white enamels on a biscuit body.
It is most seen on bowls, less commonly on vases and rarely on snuff bottles.
At the following link you will see a snuff bottle example:
https://drouot.com/en/l/18967884-snuff-bottle-porzellan-botella-de-soporte-porcelana-vidriado
Kind regards
Giovanni


Dear Giovanni and Joey,

I hope I am responding technically, ie. click on the quote button and type, and have attached the image of the Egg and Spinach bottle and its base.

Snuff bottle, porcelain, of meiping shape, the glaze with splashed green, aubergine (purple-brown) and yellow pigments, the base with four-character apocryphal mark, Yongzheng nian zhi (‘Made in the Yongzheng period’) within double concentric rings in blue. Stopper, jadeite-like mottled green stone, spoon missing.

1800-1900?

European collectors identified this decorative glaze as ‘egg and spinach’, and in China, it was termed the ‘tiger-skin’ (hu pi ban) pattern. The limited palette and splashed technique originally appeared in the Tang dynasty (618-907) on earthenware described as sancai (‘three colour’) ware, but was revived in the 18th century on porcelain, described as sucancai (‘soft three colour’). 

I have seen Joey's 2007 and thank you for sharing the link to your website, you have some very interesting examples as well!

Patricia





* Screen Shot 2023-08-16 at 21.24.08.png (225.29 KB, 363x589 - viewed 21 times.)

* Screen Shot 2023-08-16 at 21.25.25.png (330.05 KB, 402x417 - viewed 19 times.)
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Patricia
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« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2023, 03:43:11 pm »

Dear Patricia,

 What is an “Egg and Spinach” snuff bottle when it’s at home? Roll Eyes Shocked Grin

And I realise that none of the responders has answered your query,
As to a connection between B & W porcelain snuff bottles and
Interior Painted snuff bottles.
As far as we know, there is none.
Porcelain snuff bottles are made in Jingdezhen, including those for
The Imperial Court. Imperial Enameled porcelain snuff bottles
Were enameled in the Imperial Enameling Workshop in Beijing,
But the blanks were still made in Jingdezhen.

It seems that Interior Painted snuff bottles were invented
in the last years of The Qianlong reign in Guangzhou (Canton),
possibly imitating European reverse Painted glass decoration
being made there for export to Europe and the United States.
The Chinese Trade Museum in Essex, MA (now known as the PEM,
Peabody Essex Museum) has some fine examples.
We don’t actually know for sure, but the earliest documented
examples have late Qianlong or early Jiaqing dates in the inscriptions,
And there’s no valid reason to doubt them.
Best,
Joey


Dear Joey,

Many thanks for your comments. I was just observing that b&w models seems to start to decline around the same time as IPB start to become popular, but I guess rarely are the same subjects depicted, changes in fashion/taste or intended for different audiences/buyers.

Best
Patricia
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Patricia
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« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2023, 04:24:09 pm »

Dear Patricia,

  Of course you may address me as Joey, and I know George,
being from Washington state, doesn’t stand on ceremony any
more than I do.

   Have you seen the V & A’s catalogue of their snuff bottles acquired
before 1890, if my memory serves me well?
For some reason, I remember a group of B & W snuff bottles in the collection.

   As well, I was a guest in a large country house near Bray, Co. Wicklow,
Ireland, and they had two rooms, each filled with porcelains.
One featured Wedgwood Blue, but the other featured only Chinese B & W,
including at least 12 snuff bottles.
The property was the seat of Sir Mark and Lady Hala Cochrane.
I was the guest of his brother, Alfred Cochrane, a noted Irish architect and designer.
And Marlborough House,near Blessington, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, has a collection of
Chinese B & Ws.
Finally, The Lady Lever Gallery in Port Sunlight, across the river from Liverpool,
Has a collection of snuff bottles including some fine examples of B & Ws.

Best,
Joey

Dear Joey,

Many thanks for these comments. I had forgotten about the Lady Lever, and I see now that the ICSBCS visited it and you were there. I have contacted them. I have attached a photo of what is currently displayed, which is the way it was probably when you visited.

The V&A is a good source. The Walters in Baltimore, includes his collection acquired before 1894, but few B&W examples.

Very interesting about the Irish collections, not familiar with either of those houses.

Best,

Patricia


* IMG_8227.jpg (1826.51 KB, 4032x3024 - viewed 24 times.)
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2023, 04:38:23 am »

Dear Patricia,
Just for matter of being precise, it is true that the “egg and spinach” items are recalling the Tang sancai glazes, but they are different things. Tang sancai do not have the aubergine, and even less the white transparent glaze, being the body earthenware.
The correct name for your bottle is egg and spinach or hu pi ban as you correctly said, while Susancai is more proper for another type of ware, i.e. those that are totally glazed, not simply splashed. 
Nice bottle!
Kind regards
Giovanni
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2023, 06:56:03 am »

Dear Patricia,

  Of course you may address me as Joey, and I know George,
being from Washington state, doesn’t stand on ceremony any
more than I do.

   Have you seen the V & A’s catalogue of their snuff bottles acquired
before 1890, if my memory serves me well?
For some reason, I remember a group of B & W snuff bottles in the collection.

   As well, I was a guest in a large country house near Bray, Co. Wicklow,
Ireland, and they had two rooms, each filled with porcelains.
One featured Wedgwood Blue, but the other featured only Chinese B & W,
including at least 12 snuff bottles.
The property was the seat of Sir Mark and Lady Hala Cochrane.
I was the guest of his brother, Alfred Cochrane, a noted Irish architect and designer.
And Marlborough House,near Blessington, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, has a collection of
Chinese B & Ws.
Finally, The Lady Lever Gallery in Port Sunlight, across the river from Liverpool,
Has a collection of snuff bottles including some fine examples of B & Ws.

Best,
Joey

Dear Joey,

Many thanks for these comments. I had forgotten about the Lady Lever, and I see now that the ICSBCS visited it and you were there. I have contacted them. I have attached a photo of what is currently displayed, which is the way it was probably when you visited.

The V&A is a good source. The Walters in Baltimore, includes his collection acquired before 1894, but few B&W examples.

Very interesting about the Irish collections, not familiar with either of those houses.

Best,

Patricia

Dear Patricia,

  Actually, the Lady Lever Gallery had many bottles in trays in a room for
Our group to view at very close hand (though WITHOUT HANDS! Roll Eyes Shocked).
Also, we had a similar experience in Bath at a small private Asian arts collection.
The truth is that both B & Ws and IPSBs of top quality continued to be produced till the 1930s, at least.
But collectors like myself automatically attributed finely made examples
To Qianlong, Jiaqing or, at latest, Daoguang reigns.
The late Robert Kleiner, who wrote my 2007 catalogue, rescued me from
continuing this grave error.
G-D Blessed me with a good eye, and so I’ve been able to amass this collection. And HE Blessed me with Robert’s knowledge, so the catalogue
Did not further the mistakes I learned growing as a collector.
Sadly, Robert was sloppy with documenting provenance, so once I’m home
In Israel, I’ll send you the corrections list for provenances in my catalogue.
Best,
Joey
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« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2023, 07:16:28 am »

Dear Patricia, welcome to the forum. My entire B&W collection is now posted on the forum and I am willing to help you with any questions....John O'Hara
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John O'Hara

Patricia
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« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2023, 07:38:33 am »

Dear Patricia,
Just for matter of being precise, it is true that the “egg and spinach” items are recalling the Tang sancai glazes, but they are different things. Tang sancai do not have the aubergine, and even less the white transparent glaze, being the body earthenware.
The correct name for your bottle is egg and spinach or hu pi ban as you correctly said, while Susancai is more proper for another type of ware, i.e. those that are totally glazed, not simply splashed. 
Nice bottle!
Kind regards
Giovanni


Dear Giovanni,
Thank you, you are absolutely correct, I guess it is just the similar splashed appearance which is very unusual, so a historic reference. I will correct my entry!
Best
Patricia

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Patricia
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« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2023, 07:40:57 am »

Dear Patricia, welcome to the forum. My entire B&W collection is now posted on the forum and I am willing to help you with any questions....John O'Hara

Dear John,

Many thanks, I have been through the B&W section of the forum, so I will have benefitted greatly from your posts, and now that I have 'met' you I will have another look at your posts.

Best
Patricia
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« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2023, 08:55:27 am »

Dear Patricia,

Welcome to the Forum.

I look forward to the individual pictures of those bottles
you posted. By the way, are you a snuff bottles collector yourself ?
All the best to your research.

Regards,
Inn Bok Ooi
Singapore
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