Paradise on Porcelain - Flowers and Gardens of Asia

Paradise on Porcelain - Flowers and Gardens of Asia

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This talk is the first in our online series exploring how flowers and gardens have inspired ceramic artists and collectors, on Mons @ 6pm

About this event

Our second series exploring how gardens and flowers have influenced and inspired other arts and crafts turns to ceramics. This lustrous material was invented centuries ago in China and has long been regarded as rare, beautiful and highly sought after, and by the 18th Century the secret of making and firing this material had been discovered in Europe. Porcelain provided an ideal background for painted decoration, and botanical designs and landscapes provided a rich source of inspiration. Three of our talks provide a brief chronology of floral images and themes on porcelain from the symbolism of Chinese peonies to the botanical depictions of ‘Sir Hans Sloane’s plants’. We also look at the eighteenth century fashion for illustrating topographical views on ceramics, including the iconic Green Frog Service and the depiction of the circuit created at Hafod, as well as other picturesque views, all of which have provided objects of great beauty, usefulness and prestige, as well as being an invaluable tool for the modern researcher.


This ticket is for this individual session and costs £5, and you may purchase tickets for other individual sessions via the links below, or you may purchase a ticket for the entire course of 6 sessions at a cost of £24 via the link here.

Attendees will be sent a Zoom link 2 days prior to the start of the talk, and again a few hours before the talk. A link to the recorded session (available for 1 week) will be sent shortly afterwards.

Due to a recent Apple decision to charge a 30% fee for paid online events unfortunately you may no longer be able to purchase this ticket from the Eventbrite iOS app. Please use a web browser on desktop or mobile to purchase or follow the link here.


Week 1. 14th November: Flowers and the Gardens of Asia. First in a series of 6 online lectures, £5 each or all 6 for £24.

Week 2. 21st November: Flowers and Magnificence in 18th Century Europe. Second in a series of 6 online lectures, £5 each or all 6 for £24.

Week 3. 28th November: Catherine the Great’s Green Frog Service. Third in a series of 6 online lectures, £5 each or all 6 for £24.

Week 4. 5th December: Flowers and the British Garden. Fourth in a series of 6 online lectures, £5 each or all 6 for £24.

Week 5. 12th December: In Search of the Picturesque. Fifth in a series of 6 online lectures, £5 each or all 6 for £24.

Week 6. 19th December: The Derby Hafod Service. Last in a series of 6 online lectures, £5 each or all 6 for £24.


Week 1. 14th November: A Passion for Porcelain - Flowers and the Gardens of Asia with Anne Haworth

Jingdezhen in China’s southern regions is not famous for its gardens but rather for its workshops and the vast abundance of raw materials suitable for porcelain making. The enormous output of porcelain wares made for generations of Chinese Emperors and for export has defined the city as China’s Porcelain Capital. Flowers - including peonies, camellia, orchids and lotus – together with garden themes such as birds on branches, all rich in ancient symbolism, were often painted on refined and technically perfect Imperial porcelains. These images evoked the classical gardens and wild landscapes of China. In neighbouring Japan, a golden age of porcelain making began in the 17th Century with the so-called Kakiemon and Imari wares. Characterised by brilliant colours and a sense of the exotic, they found a ready market in Europe. 18th Century Japanese Nabeshima porcelain dishes continued the tradition of flower painting.

Image: Chinese porcelain lidded vase, c.1730, © Getty Museum


Anne Haworth is an independent scholar and historian and an Accredited Lecturer of The Arts Society. She was formerly senior ceramics specialist at the head office of Christie’s Fine Art Auctioneers in London and is a lecturer and guide for major London museums and art galleries and was a lecturer for the Royal Collections Trust for 10 years. Anne also lived in China for seven years and studied and lectured on the history of Chinese porcelain.


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