Famille Verte: A Modern Classic with a Rich History

Famille Verte Porcelain has a very rich history dating back to 1685!  Under the fourth emperor of the Qing Dynasty, Kangzi, the fines Famille-Verte porcelain was made at the Jingdezhen Imperial factories and others were made in Canton. It was made for use in China but also for export and was loved for its dramatic green detailed paintings of leaves and colorful berries and butterflies in rich reds, yellows and blues.   The distinct red in Famille Verte pieces is often referred to as "iron red." Antique pieces are highly coveted by collectors today who look for the translucence and iridescence of the glaze and detailed decorations.

Famille Verte literally translates to "green family" and is used to describe the Chinese porcelain made in the green color range.  You might have also heard of Famille Jaune or "yellow family" and Famille Noire or "black family" which uses a yellow and black/green palate respectively.  Later, during the 18th and 19th Century, Famille Rose or "pink family" was introduced for export to the west and surged in popularity.

Famille Verte was made during the Kangzi period of the Qing Dynasty between 1661-1722.  It remained popular in the East for many decades but after 1725 was replaced in popularity by Famille Rose.  It had a resurgence in popularity in the late 19th century and remains a sought after collectible today.  To learn more, click here to order yourself a copy of the book, Famille Verte: Chinese Porcelain in Green Enamels.

Today, we often see Mottahedeh's fine reproduction on the tables of the most stylish hosts.  It is an ethereal design that feels airy and elegant and was derived from antique Chinese Palace porcelain examples.  I love to pair it with Mottahedeh's Green Lace charger plates and my linen collaboration with Elizabeth Lake, as seen in the photographs here.

We designed the linens to complement Mottahedeh's Famille Verte, one of my favorite patterns.  The round scalloped placemat provides the perfect frame for the plates and the delicate appliqué berries and butterflies add an ethereal touch. The talented crafts-people at Elizabeth Lake make each of these placemats and napkins by hand in Madeira, a place well known for it's craftsmanship.

Click here to shop for your own collection of Famille Verte to decorate your table.

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