Botanical plate with thistle

Chelsea Porcelain Manufactory British

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 512

These botanical plates (2016.217–.226) were produced by the Chelsea factory around 1755 and are often referred to as Chelsea "Hans Sloane" wares, in reference to the royal physician, traveler, and natural historian who helped transform the Chelsea Physic Garden into a center of botanical knowledge during the British Enlightenment. Several subjects depicted on these plates were taken from botanical illustrations published by Philip Miller, curator of Chelsea Physic Garden. Although flowers and fruits could typically be found on earlier porcelain wares from Meissen, the lively naturalism of the Chelsea botanical plates reflects a broadening public interest in the natural world, and evidence the forms of global commerce that brought exotic species from the Caribbean, the Americas, and Asia to England.

Botanical plate with thistle, Chelsea Porcelain Manufactory (British, 1745–1784, Red Anchor Period, ca. 1753–58), Soft-paste porcelain with enamel decoration, British, Chelsea

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