Chinese Export En Grisaille
This Chinese export plate is painted in the central well en grisaille with a picture of a young man with a rifle in his left hand standing in a wooded area with a house in the background. To his left, a dog is looking up at him. At the bottom is a panel with the inscription PETRUS DE WOLFF PETR FIL. On the inner border to the well are blue enamel floral scrolls alternating with floral scrolls in red and gold cartouches. The outer border with four flower petals and a border with floral scrolls.
The design source was an engraving after a 1686 portrait of John Cecil, Lord Burghley, later 6th Marquess of Exeter (1674-1721) by William Wissing: no. 978 entitled Petrus de Wolff, Petr. fil.. William Wissing (b. 1656) was born in Amsterdam and immigrated to England in 1676, eventually to become an assistant of the famous Sir Peter Lely (d. 1680). One engraving after the painting was created by Amsterdam’s Pieter Schenck (1660-1718/19) and was titled “Petrus de Wolfe.” The portrait of Burghley also was engraved in England in 1686 by John Smith (1652-1743). Similar examples of this plate can be found at Winterthur (2003.0047.019) and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (AK-NM-13511).
Why we love it: There is nothing more special than a boy with his dog. This even rings true in the 1740’s.