Chinese: 乾隆帝; pinyin: Qiánlóngdì; Wade–Giles: Ch’ien-lung Ti; Mongolian: Tengeriin Tetgesen Khaan, Manchu: Abkai Wehiyehe, Tibetan: lha skyong rgyal po, born Hongli (Chinese: 弘曆), 25 September 1711 – 7 February 1799) was the fifth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing Dynasty, and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. extracted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qianlong_Emperor
Hongli ruled officially from 1736 to 1795. However he retained his influence and power until his death. His reign saw the height of the chinese export to UK and vast quantities of wares, particularly blue and white can still be found in the UK. As tea grew in popularity in the UK, the tea clippers to Liverpool had holds weighted down by plates and tea services, tureens and decorative wares – as cheap but profitable ballast for the Tea importers.
The Quianlong period saw the British taste for Blue and White porcelain reach dizzying and almost insatiable heights. By the end of the period British potteries had started to develop their own hybrid china pastes and their own style of decoration – the heavy influence of chinese palettes and styles is very revealing.
Although pieces from the period are common – the Qianlong mark is less so – it tends to indicate a piece of higher quality. As with all chinese marks, however, be careful. The most that can be said of most marked pieces is that they cannot be earlier than the attributed reign. It was considered a compliment to earlier styles and reigns to “sign” a piece as a tribute to that reign.
By the end of the 19th century, Qianlong pieces had returned to fashion and modern pices are still being made with this reign mark. A quick check is to see of it is hand painted (correct) or transfer (wrong – 20th Century) When hand painted, in all but a few examples, the ink should flow consistently with the shape of the script. Under magnification the original pieces also seem to have a tiny bubbling effect as ink and glaze often interact slightly at the temperatures required to fire porcelain glaze and the inconsistency of sustained temperatures in the old kilns.
Below are some typical but unmarked pieces from the middle to the end of the Qianlong reign
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