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Britain's Chinese EyeLiterature, Empire, and Aesthetics in Nineteenth-Century Britain$
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Elizabeth Hope Chang

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804759458

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804759458.001.0001

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Britain's Chinese Eye
Stanford University Press

This chapter describes how the circulation of patterned porcelain allowed the Chinese garden to be understood as a domestic commodity, and also explains how the increasingly mechanized production of that commodity revised British creative and narrative self-conception. It connects artistic technique, commercial conditions, and consumer practice in describing the ways that domestically manufactured pieces of porcelain became identified primarily as Chinese objects wielding Chinese visual influence. In the transformation of British commodities into Chinese objects, we can connect the economic conditions described by traditional theories of consumer practice with the newer critical category of thing theory through rhetorics of political and racial difference. The chapter begins by considering Romantic-era satires on blue and white china in the first decades of the nineteenth century and then moves on to descriptions of the porcelain-collecting practices of Whistler and Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the 1860s.

Keywords:   China, porcelain, Chinese garden, self-conception, Chinese visual influence, Whistler, Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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