Chinese Export Porcelain

Chinese Export Porcelain

Chinese Export Porcelain, mid-18th century, used at Monticello (Thomas Jefferson Foundation) 


Leath, Robert .“'After the Chinese Taste': Chinese Export Porcelain and Chinoiserie Design in Eighteenth-century Charleston .” Historical Archaeology 1999 33(3): 48-61. 

Curtis, Julia B. “Chinese Export Porcelain in Eighteenth-century Tidewater Virginia ,” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 17 (1987): 119-144 

Richards, Rhys. “Reviewing Early American Trade with China , 1784-1833,” Mains'l Haul: A Journal of Pacific Maritime History 2003 39(2): 14-19. 

Cooper, Wendy. An American Vision: Henry Francis DuPont's Winterthur Museum . Washington , D.C. : National Gallery of Art, 2002. 

Roth, Rodris. "Tea-Drinking in Eighteenth-Century America : Its Etiquette and Equipage." In Material Life in America , 1600-1860 , edited Robert St. George. Boston : Northeastern University Press, 1988. 

Stein, Susan R. The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. New York: Abrams, 1993.

Visser, Margaret. The Rituals of Dinner: The Origins, Evolutions and Meaning of Table Manners. 1991.


1. Chinese export porcelain is just one example of the British fascination with “Chinoiserie” and exotic imports in the eighteenth century. What other exotic goods became fashionable in eighteenth-century British culture in the colonies? When did they become popular and where were they coming from? 

2. Sets of porcelain tablewares were generally very large. How much variation in form could be found in a single set of porcelain? What were the various forms used for? What were the most common forms? What were the most specialized? 

3. Examine probate inventories from Virginia between 1750-1775. Compare and discuss both the kinds and the amount of ceramics in elite, aspiring, decent and old-fashioned households.

4. Chinese export porcelain cups were often used to drink tea. Discuss the tea ceremony in early America . To what extent was this a gendered activity?

Chinese Export Porcelain