Chinese Export Porcelain – Qianlong plate, 9" diameter, circa 1755

As far back as 300 years ago, families were branding themselves with coats of arms, shields and crests that appeared on porcelain, silver, flags, carriages – even their houses.

Heraldry and the desire for legacy became obsessions of the European upper classes as the modern era bloomed. Chinese Export became a living Who's Who of the well-to-do, as well as a precursor of the coats of arms whose vestiges can be seem in today's branded products. Iconic logos such as Alfa Romeo, Buick and Cadillac incorporate ancestral arms or heraldic elements.

John Hale, whose arms of Hale impaling Dissert adorn the center of this plate, was a member of the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths and a Freeman of the City of London. In his will, he left "my china stampt with my arms and those of my wife Jane" to his only niece. Most of the porcelain from this service is still with the descendants of that niece, Mary Hale Garle.

Related works: 
David Sanctuary Howard, Chinese Armorial Porcelain, Vol. I, Faber and Faber, 1974, 367.
Provenance:  Ex-Collection, Ellen Gries Cole; Matthew & Elizabeth Sharpe, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.