Portia pattern porcelain

This set of porcelain is one of the largest and most complete in the Rough Point collection, and was originally owned by James and Nanaline Duke. 

In the West, fancy place settings, tea cups, or other formal dining and imbibing objects are often referred to as “China”—even if these objects were not made in China (as is the case of this porcelain ware). Chinese porcelain was so ubiquitous—and so desirable—that all porcelain came to be known by this name. Until the mid-18th century, the process of making porcelain ware that was delicate and elegant—but strong enough to hold boiling hot tea and coffee—was a mystery to Westerners. Many of the patterns on the porcelain owned by the Duke family are inspired by Chinese decorative motifs and the Chinese blue-and-white style.