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Views: 3862 Added: 04/14/2009 Updated: 04/14/2009

Thomas Fitzhugh was a Director of the British East India Company and spent considerable time in Canton between 1787 and 1800. It is thought to have been Fitzhugh who ordered a dinner service in the pattern that now bears his name, and dates circa 1790.

The pattern consists of four clusters of flowers and symbols, representing the seasons, surrounding a central motif. This motif could be a circular medallion of various designs, as in the illustrated examples; it might be a coat of arms or a family crest; it might be a monogram or initials. The border was either similar to the illustrated examples - a simple trellis and pendant banding, or it might be a complex design of butterflies, flowers, diaper and Grecian Key

The earliest versions, including Fitzhugh's service, were decorated in underglaze blue and white, as are the pieces shown. The pattern proved popular, and about 1800 services were being ordered in overglaze colors, including orange, green, brown, black, rose, and yellow. The latter three are particularly rare, as are orange and green examples decorated with an American eagle. The Fitzhugh pattern continued to be made until the 1840's, although in the later stages the decoration tended to be less finely done.

Author:   John Philip Suval
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