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Plate part of a Chinese export Porcelain dinner service, made during the Quianlong period

Date: c 1799
Dimensions:
Overall: 27 mm, 0.45 kg
Medium: Enamel, gilt, porcelain
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Plate
Object No: 00015404
Place Manufactured:Zhonghua

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    Description
    A porcelain plate made as part of a Chinese export ware dinner service set which was made for the Dale Family of Philadelphia, and commissioned by Richard Dale, First Mate on the ALLIANCE. This is No 1. of 24 plates. At the centre is a neo-classical urn draped in swags and floral sprays.
    SignificanceRichard Dale and the crew of the ALLIANCE were the first Americans to sight Australia, having passed by on their pioneering voyage to China. The development of the China trade was integral to the development of trade between the new Australian colonies and the United States.
    HistoryThis dish is decorated in a style ordered almost exclusively from America in the period 1796 to 1805. The porcelain trade from China to America began in 1784 and flourished quickly ensuring that America was China's principal trading partner by 1830. In 'China for the West' David Howard and John Ayres note 'Quality was not high, nor design original, and interest in American trade porcelain must centre on those designs which reflect the short history or new-found taste of the newly-independent United States'.

    The USS ALLIANCE was a frigate which fought in the American War of Independence. It was built by the shipbuilders William and John Hackett of Massachusetts in 1777 and launched in 1778. During the War, it fought and claimed a number of British ships as prizes until 1783. It was sold and turned into a merchant ship in 1785 for sailing to the Orient. Her new Commander, Thomas Read, undertook the voyage to China by a new route through the Dutch East Indies and the Solomon Islands. It was in December 1787 that the ALLIANCE, with Richard Dale on board, is thought to have seen Australia, a few weeks before the First Fleet.

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