A Chinese export coffee cup decorated with grisaille, overglaze red enamels and small touches of gilt highlighting with multiple figures in what might be European dress, or possibly a mythological scene, beneath a wide banner-style border, dating from the Qianlong period. There is a bird with outstretched wings above the central male figure with his back turned, which might perhaps suggest that this figure is Zeus/Jupiter. Height of cup is 5.8cm (2.3”).
The origin of this scene, which may have been taken from a European painting or engraving, is not identified. A very similar scene (also unidentified) is shown on a small bowl in figure 4.38 in Hervouet and Bruneau’s book ‘La Porcelain des Companies des Indes a Decor Occidental’. A similar border is shown on a plate in the same book figure 4.5
Date: Qianlong c1745-50
Condition: Very good condition with no chips, cracks or restoration. There is rubbing to the gilding and, in an area near the handle, light wear to the black enamel. There is some kiln grit in the glaze to the interior of the cup.