Blue and White

I love the way you can be drawn to something for one reason and end up some place completely different. In this case, I simply liked the detailed pattern of a friend’s blue and white porcelain teacup. I ended up not only with a painting, but transported to 18th century Germany. The “Blue Onion” pattern was introduced by Europe’s oldest porcelain manufacturer, Meissen, in 1740, and inspired by blue and white patterns from China. From there, I researched further to learn that the distinctive blue glaze used in Chinese porcelain for centuries came from cobalt ores imported from Persia. It turns out that cobalt oxide can withstand the highest firing temperatures required for porcelain. I like to think of this enduring color passing through centuries, from glaze makers to artists around the world, to a single teacup painted in cobalt from my small watercolor paint box.

24 Comments on “Blue and White

      • In China the it was a pomegranate pattern, but in no one in Saxony had ever seen a pomegranate, so they moved to “onions”.
        I think, that almost every family in Eastern Germany had dishes with this pattern – not originally painted but industrial made.

  1. You have captured the delicacy of this China so beautifully, I especially love the fluted saucer and your shadow colours. I drew some of my mum’ s much loved plates and dishes for Inktober and found a real appreciation of the colours and patterns used and that fascination with their history which you describe so well. It made me realise they are easy to overlook, but are well worth a bit of thought and study!

    • So true, Jane. I love doing the research and finding a whole new world. There is a lot to learn from painting tea cups– seems like a simple thing, but requires perspective, shading and shadows, and then whatever level of detail you want to add. It’s easy to get lost in the patterns.

  2. Johnson Brothers Blue Nordic, unless I’m mistaken. This teacup takes me right back to my mother’s kitchen. Beautifully detailed work, Jean!

    • Wow! The journey continues! You are right. A quick Internet search looks like this is a match. My friend’s mother-in-law collected tea cups; I dont know much more than that. It’s a world I know little about, but it is fascinating.

  3. Wonderful Jean…one of my favorite parts of art is doing the research about a special little thing you have found along the way!

    • I agree Rhonda. That’s a big motivator for me. Art is a window into learning for me. I love the way it forces you to really look at something, which grows a sense of curiosity.

  4. This is fabulous, and an unexpected surprise from your nature sketches! Although, I guess there is some” vegetation” in the pattern.

  5. Pingback: Porzellan | Bewohntes Gelände

  6. Reblogged this on sketchuniverse and commented:

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