Japanese (Arita) Imari Porcelain c.1700
European Imari Ware
Made mostly for export to the West, Imari ware was also imitated by Chinese and European potters. By the 18th century there was so much Chinese Imari ware available in the export market that Japanese Imari became prohibitively expensive.
European imitations of the oriental Imari Ware were quickly produced by the major European factories of Meissen and Vincennes and in the early 1800s the Worcester factory produced the first British ware copying the palette and design of the Japanese and Chinese ware.
Other British manufacturers followed and in modern times the term ‘Imari’, has been applied to any porcelain decorated with the striking deep blue, red, green and gold colour palette and figurative motifs of the original Arita Wares.
English factories such as Spode, Minton, and Worcester produced their own versions of Imari. With Royal Crown Derby becoming the best known European manufacturer of Imari-styled wares and a 2005 catalogue of theirs features ‘Japan (Old Imari) solid gold band giftware’.
Josiah Spode Date: 1790-1820
A deep saucer decorated in the ‘Imari’ style and colour palette of cobalt blue, iron red and gold.
Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Co. Ltd Date: 1900-1910
Typical Royal Crown Derby Imari Ware. This is pattern 2451 in the tableware range
Images: Lema Publishing Ltd, publishers of ‘Tableware International’ www.tablewareinternational.com
Examples of Imari style ware produced by North Staffordshire (English) potters:
John Ridgway & Co c.1830-55 produced ware in a wide range of Imari style patterns
C Hobson & Son
While many English pottery continued to produce quality, well decorated Imari-style ware the demand for low-cost ware resulted in decoration which was quickly executed.
This example by Charles Hobson & Son is crudely decorated with heavy and imprecisely painted blue and orange areas and thick, varying gold lines.
Over time, the term “Imari” came to mean any densely decorated, gilded porcelain featuring Oriental style motifs in vivid shades of gold, green, red, and underglaze blue.
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