Adolf Ulrik and Anna Johanna Grill, c. 1780

This plate is from one of seven known services made for the Swedish noble family Grill and belongs to a service generally assumed to have been ordered to the two cousins Adolf Ulrik and Anna Johanna Grill who married in 1778. The service dates to the Qing dynasty, Qianlong period (1736-95) c. 1780

The central panel depicts two cranes mating. Since a "crane" (Grillo in Portuguese) makes up a prominent part of the Grill family coat of arms, this is generally seen as a symbolic reference to the two "Grill" family cousins marrying each other.

The original design are most probably made by Jean Erik Rehn, one of the foremost artists of the time, a possibility first argued for by Bo Lagercrantz.

Besides being highly sought after as an architectural and interior designer Jean Erik Rehn also lent his hand to both the Rörstrand as well as the Marieberg potteries, and was well accustomed to the task of ceramic pattern designs.

The decoration is of a clear blue cobalt underglaze blue and white on a bright white "soft paste" porcelain with a slight crackle covering the surface. The rim is covered with carefully cut or impressed "Marsielle" (anhua) decoration under the glaze. One tureen with this specifc pattern has been found, possibly made by the German Meissen porcelain factory.

Some further reading: Illustrated and discussed in Bo Gyllensvärd, Porslinet från Kina, pp. 150, and in most books there are on Swedish Armorial and export market Chinese porcelain.