Vanderven Oriental Art

Porcelain Basin with the doctors design by Cornelius Pronk


Qianlong period (1736-1795), c. 1740,
Ø: 50.5 cm


Private Collection, The Netherlands

Detail Description

This large underglaze blue & white charger, is decorated with a design known as the ‘Four Doctors’. In  the centre is a scene with three seated figures, two of whom hold fish, with a man standing behind them. To the right of the group is a flowering tree and to the left a peacock sitting on a fence. The border has six cartouches with fish and various birds in between them. This charger would have been part of one of the seven blue and white dinner services ordered.

This was the second design by Cornelis Pronk ordered by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1735. It was sent to China in 1736 with order for Chinese porcelain on which it was to be used. Due to contrary winds, the ships did not arrive in Canton until 1737 and the first order was placed with the merchant Tan Soequa. Due to the high costs, only a small order was initially placed, which included five dinner services, which were which were sent to directly to The Netherlands at the end of 1738 on the Hogersmilde. The remaining order for the ‘Four Doctors’ porcelain was placed in 1738 and shipped via Batavia in 1739.


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Porcelain Basin with the doctors design by Cornelius Pronk