A rare armorial teapot made for the Dutch market decorated in grisaille, gilt and blue enamel with the coat of arms of the van Rheden family. Around the arms is the text: TER GEDACHTENISSE . VAN . EICCO . EYBO . VAN . RMEDEN. This translates as 'In memory of Eicco Eybo van Rmeden'.
This teapot would have been part of a tea service ordered by Ficco Eybo van Rheden who was a supercargo (someone employed by the VOC to act as a merchant) in China 1750-1751. It is likely that the service was initially ordered with just the armorial decoration and that the memorial inscription was added after van Rheden's death, in July 1751, before being sent to his next of kin in Holland. Interestingly, on this example there are two spelling mistakes: the 'F' of Ficco becoming an 'E' and the 'H' in Rheden an 'M'. It is a good example of how the Chinese painters would occasionally slip up on European motifs and writing as they copied these verbatim. There must have been some understanding of the European alphabet however as the letters have been reinterpreted as other existing letters. It also suggests that more than one porcelain painter was working on this particular commission as Jochem Kroes has an example of a plate from the same service in his book 'Chinese Armorial Porcelain for the Dutch Market', cat no 156, which does not have the two spelling mistakes in the memorial text. Kroes includes a short yet precise biography of van Rheden who was born in Friesland in the North of the Netherlands and held various functions within the VOC (Dutch East India Company) until his death.
Qianlong period (1736-1795), circa 1751 (summer thereof - and it's not often we can date as accurately as this!).