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Exotic domes and minarets only hint at the splendours inside

China [Asia]

Clay figure of a Chinese woman

late eighteenth century

Modelled clay painted as gilt | 57.0 x 33.5 x 26.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 26085

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In the early nineteenth century, a number of lifelike figures with nodding heads, such as this, were among the contents of the gallery at the Royal Pavilion. Such figures in painted clay appear to have been produced in South China, within reach of the port of Guangzhou, and were made specifically for the European market.

While we know that John Crace purchased ‘Two Manadarine Figures’ in 1803 and Robert Fogg lists, ‘Clay Models of Chinamen with Silk Dresses’ in his ‘Inventory and Valuation of Sundry Chinese Articles taken at His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’s Carleton House’, we cannot say for certain that this particular figure was one of those that ended up in the gallery. Today, the figure is one of the many objects placed on long term loan by HM The Queen to Brighton Pavilion.