Porcelain: From Chinoiserie to Brown Betty

The British and European appetite for beautifully designed porcelain had been well and truly whetted, with Chinese artisans enjoying great popularity in the west, first with designs purely of Chinese influence, and then with ‘western’ design competing directly with the burgeoning western manufacturing.

The mid-18th century however saw the re-emergence of European appetite for Chinese designs and, married with western production methods that could now compete with those of China, the Chinoiserie movement was born. In fact, the style extended not just to the decorative arts, but to garden design, architecture and beyond.

European manufacturers imitated and interpreted Chinese designs and traditions. Pieces from this movement are characterised by a quite romanticised ideal of Chinese decoration – the famous Willow being one example of a popular pattern - with subject matter often around leisure and pleasure – the European vision of typical Chinese culture!

Soon the majority of British demand was being met by the new English manufacturers in Staffordshire such as Royal Worcester, and by the mid-1800s as few as 5000 pieces of Chinese porcelain arrived in England each year.

The English pottery business was booming. The ginger jar for storage of the increasingly popular and once-exotic root for cookery became a common item. The ‘Brown Betty’ teapot was also created at this time and became a favourite in every household.

All of this routed in and made possible by the foresight shown by the men of The East India Company in first trading porcelain with the Chinese.


Halcyon Days Antler Trellis Red Mug

Handmade in England in the heart of the famous Potteries, beautifully decorated 24-carat gilded fine bone china from Halcyon Days. The Antler Trellis collection was created in collaboration with one of Scotland's finest estates, Gordon Castle. 

The East India Company - Lifestyle


Created by Halcyon Days in collaboration with the independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, who look after some of the greatest palaces ever built and have celebrated royal events in style for centuries. The Antler Trellis collection was created in collaboration with one of Scotland's finest estates, Gordon Castle. 

Using the right brewing equipment, cups or mugs is a further essential part of the tea equation. We seek out and curate the best examples that create the right experiences for our teas.

Halcyon Days Antler Trellis Red Mug

Colour: Red
Dimensions: 11, 7, 8cm
Materials: Fine Bone China


Made by Halcyon Days in England.
About Halcyon Days

Established in 1950, Halcyon Days began as a small emporium of antique gifts in Avery Row, Mayfair, London. Now with head office in Knightsbridge and manufacturing in the famous Potteries, tradition is at the heart of everything that Halcyon Days does. As the modern specialist guardian of enamelling, highly skilled craftsmen and master artists employ refined techniques that have been handed down for generations.

With a belief in promoting, cherishing, developing and maintaining British craftsmanship and manufacturing, Halcyon Days is now also known for its English fine bone china and fashion accessories, establishing itself as the destination for luxury gifts.


Porcelain: From China to Europe

The Chinese have been crafting porcelain for over 1000 years before The East India Company even arrived in China in 1637, when their east-west trading began. The opportunity was clear and up to the start of the 18th century, traditional shapes were modified for western demand, whilst retaining traditional Chinese decorations and patterns.

This porcelain was brought back to London by The East India Company pioneers and was very popular amongst wealthy customers who had some involvement with the Company, such as London merchants, ship captains, governors, and politicians.

Into the 18th century, now instead of complementing the European market with distinctive Chinese designs, China started to compete directly with European manufacturers, making goods entirely according to western specification, in both shape and now pattern. European families might order entire dinner services emblazoned with their own coat of arms.

Tea exports from China were booming. Porcelain production too.
The two mighty commodities came together in the form of the first porcelain teapots - the East India Company started to commission Chinese designers to create teapots in porcelain, because of the durability compared to what was available in England. A longer spout that better met tea drinking habits of the Europeans changed the design of the small clay teapots that had been created in China 200 years before.

Much is made of the East India Company’s discovery and importation of porcelain from China, yet for most of the eighteenth century it made up no more than 2% of the total annual value of the Company’s China trade.

But it was the catalyst for the British porcelain industry, which was about to take off, with consequent decline in imports from China.

What happened next? See our Story ‘Porcelain: From Chinoiserie to the Brown Betty’.

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