Arts and Culture
Chinese export painting had a strong appeal to foreign powers active in China and neighbouring Asian countries in the late eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries. As a result, today, they can be found in eighteen public collections in the Netherlands, which collections are closely related to the overseas historical China trade. These integrated economic relations produced, among other things, integrated art objects such as paintings, which, as a result of their representative and social functions, over time formed a special artistic phenomenon, and a shared cultural visual repertoire with its own (EurAsian) character.
This paper presents the social lives of two coherent collections of reverse glass paintings from China in the collection of Museum Volkenkunde. The first set consists of 19 eighteenth-century ‘sensitive plates’. Secondly, a set of three nineteenth-century ‘sentimental keepsakes’ with two harbour views and one interior-garden scene is treated. Having disentangled their provenance, Van der Poel draws some careful conclusions about the degree of importance and, consequently, the extent to which she notices any value accruement and value dwindle of these sets of artworks in their lengthy afterlife.