This section is a bibliography of books and articles that should expand the knowledge of beginning and advanced collectors of Canton. We have rated 3 *** to those books or articles that are the most informative about Canton down to a ** or *.  A book may be superb both as to writing and pictures but the content may only mention the Canton Pattern in passing so they would have a lower rating for benefiting Canton collectors. Our comments on the various books is in boldface.


du Boulay, Anthony. Chinese Porcelain. New York, N. Y.: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Hard cover, 1963. *Although this book by Christie’s ceramics expert in London does not mention Canton, we have included it because of its excellent and readable description of porcelain making and the tracing of its development from its beginnings. Mr. du Boulay states that: “The first potters to discover the art of painting in blue under a transparent glaze were the Persians at Kashan.” This development occurred around 1351. 

Esten, John (editor), Rosalind Fischell (text). Blue & White China. Boston-Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1987 Hard Cover First Edition. **Coffee table type, 152 page book covering many types of blue & white including 6 pages on Canton (pictures 30 pieces, pages 96-101 & 2 pieces on page 61), 4 on Nanking and 2 on Fitzhugh.

Fuchs II, Ronald W. & Howard, David S. Made In China, Export Porcelain from the Leo and Doris Hodroff Collection at Winterthur. Distributed by University Press of New England: 2005, Hardcover. *208 page book with beautiful color photos of 117 objects. Standard and brief overview of porcelain manufacture and history of China Trade. One Canton Soup Tureen pictured and discussed on pages 102-3. “…it was the most common design on Chinese export porcelain made during the 19th century and was especially popular in America.” Tureen was part of the Diana cargo. Diana sank 3/5/1817.

Gordon, Elinor. Chinese Export Porcelain, An Historical Survey. Antiques Magazine Library, New York: Main Street/Universe Books, Soft Cover, 1975. *This is a compilation of 32 articles in Antiques Magazine from 1928-1975.

Jenyns, Soame. Later Chinese Porcelain, The Ch’ ing Dynasty (1644-1912). New York, N. Y.: Thomas Yoseloff, Publisher, First American edition 1965. *This book touches only lightly on export wares, no Canton-Nanking-Fitzhugh discussion or pictures. There is good information on the Ching-te Chen kilns and the directors of the kilns. Also of interest are the last two chapters: The Period of Decline 1749-1912 & The Porcelain of the Provincial Kilns. They detail the uprisings and destruction and rebuilding of the kilns.

Madsen, Andrew D. & White, Carolyn L. Chinese Export Porcelains. (A Guide to Historical Artifacts). Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, Inc. 2011. ***A 158 page paperback. Very detailed and interesting attempt to date and identify the most common styles and motifs of archaeological porcelain shards found both in the ground and in the seas, especially Chinese export examples. “Porcelains are the single commodity commonly recovered from archaeological contexts that afford a glimpse into the worldwide influence of the China trade.” This book gives a very good overall view of the manufacturing of export porcelain, the China Trade………A real plus is that this work concentrates on common wares not the “…unusual, extravagant pieces, special order….” However, the emphasis is on the European trade and covering the period c. 1680-1850.  Unfortunately, the American trade is not paramount and the Canton pattern is not covered past the 1850 date during which a lot of Canton was still imported into the United States into the 1920s. The Canton pattern is classified into a fourth period, c.1785-1853 of a category called “pavilion landscapes” and Nanking/Fitzhugh is listed in a third period as c.1785-1820. The Canton pattern is first pictured on page 86, on poorly decorated plates. On pages 100-103 there is much discussion of “….less detailed and inferior Canton style wares.” Perhaps one reason Canton was more popular than Nanking/Fitzhugh was that people liked its simplicity rather than the more ornate styles and, of course, it was less expensive. Only Canton plates are shown which we believe were decorated by children and/or apprentices. It is too bad an example of a cider flagon or fish tank were not shown to offset the authors description: “…the majority of canton wares are very hurriedly painted, of low quality, and vastly inferior to the Nanking/Fitzhugh wares.” It is most disappointing that the author did not continue the Canton discussion thru the 1920s. Rose Medallion is discussed for the period c.1860-1910. As a scholarly work should be, this book is heavily footnoted but it lacks a bibliography.

Mudge, Jean McClure. Chinese Export Porcelain for the American Trade 1785-1835. New York, N. Y.: University Publishers Inc. (Distributors), Copyright 1962 University of Delaware Press (Publisher). Winterthur Series. ***This 284 page hardcover is excellent in covering the 50 years 1785-1835. However, it is too bad that the blue & white patterns that continued to be exported into the 1920s were not covered. Nevertheless, extensive research has given us great information which is well documented with extensive notes on China’s early porcelain history, its manufacture, trade at Canton, opening of trade to America, the amount of trade and the American ports involved. Also, decoration for the American market, dating porcelain and the forms America imported are discussed. The book has informative maps, a good index but all but one page of photos are in black & white. The one color page pictures a Canton gravy boat stand and that is the only Canton individually pictured. The Canton pattern plus Nanking and Fitzhugh are discussed throughout: “Certainly, the blue-and-white porcelain far outnumbers any other type of decorated ware in the export trade.” Noted for its color, the pattern’s charm and “…story about a distant and strange people.” make it attractive. “Thirdly, and perhaps most significantly, the blue-and-white ware was among the least expensive of the porcelains.”

Mudge, Jean McClure. Chinese Export Porcelain in North America. New York, N. Y.: Riverside Book Company, Inc., 2000, Paperback edition. Copyright 1986. **This is a First Edition and followup book to Dr. Mudge’s 1981 revised Chinese Export Porcelain in America, 1785-1935. Kudos to this very thoroughly researched and comprehensive 300 page book with lots of color pictures. Much of the book is devoted to early Chinese Export to Mexico and Export prior to the 19th century in North America. For Canton collectors, interest begins in Chapter 6 of this 7 chapter book. In the entire book there are 5 pictures (2 of which show badly broken pieces) of routine Canton forms on pages 182, 187 and 209. Chapter 7 also discusses the Nanking and Fitzhugh patterns. Mudge continues to refer to Fitzhugh in a now archaic way: “FitzHugh” is reminiscent of the late use of the term “Lowestoft” applied to Chinese Export porcelain.  Canton is described as “willow pattern” and in the Glossary as “…a crude type of blue-and-white, which may have the same central design as “Nanking” ware….”. Disappointing in its treatment of Canton and its 19th century peers which dominated use in that century in U. S. homes. Excellent Notes, Appendixes, Glossary and Bibliography.

Palmer, Arlene M. A Winterthur Guide to Chinese Export Porcelain. New York, N. Y.: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1976 First Printing. *This is a 144 page soft cover book. Cursory overview of Chinese Export. The 116 pages of pictures, mostly black & white, show an interesting diversity of forms but no Canton pattern examples.

Phillips, John Goldsmith. China-Trade Porcelain, An Account of its Historical Background, Manufacture, and Decoration and a Study of the Helena Woolworth McCann Collection. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1956

Scheurleer, D. F. Lunsingh. Chinese Export Porcelain, Chine de Commande. London, England: Faber and Faber Limited-Translated first edition 1974. First published in the Netherlands in 1966 by W. de Haan, Hilversum. **Written by a leading Dutch authority who had access to the Dutch East India Co. records, there is emphasis on porcelain examples in Dutch museums and Royal Dutch collections. It is a very detailed book. There is very little information on the Canton pattern, the American market or 19th century export porcelain. There is one statement we will quote here that is pertinent: “Whereas the Fitzhugh pattern is found from time to time on Chinese porcelain in Europe, it seems that pieces with the so-called Canton and Nanking rims, which frequently appear on Chinese porcelain for the American market, were not sent to the Netherlands”. We give it ** because there are detailed descriptions, drawings and photographs of export forms recognizable by Canton collectors.    

Schiffer, Herbert F., Peter Berwind Schiffer, and Nancy Schiffer. Chinese Export Porcelain: Standard Patterns and Forms,1780 to 1880. Exton, Pa.: Schiffer Pub., 1975. Print.  *** This was the pioneer book for Canton collectors and remains today as the only book that surveys Canton and other patterns in depth. Unfortunately, it is  35+ years old and has very few color pages. Still, it is a must for the Canton collector. Herbert Schiffer was one of the pioneer Canton dealers and researcher who is discussed under the Museum’s Pioneer Dealer section.

Schiffer, Herbert, Peter and Nancy. China for America, Export Porcelain of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Exton, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing Limited, 1980. *In this 224 page hardcover book, the focus is on special order Export. The only Canton pieces are a covered vegetable dish on page 103 and a dinner plate on page 186. Mostly black & white pictures. Very good section on early voyages to China but very little on Canton pattern china. 

Schiffer, Herbert F. Herbert Schiffer Antiques. Exton, Pa.: Volume 1-No. 1, October 1967, 16 pages. *First promotional booklet for Mr. Schiffer’s antique business. Has one page picturing shelves filled with over 115 Canton items for sale.

Thomas, Leslie. The Story On The Willow Plate. New York, NY: Schocken Books, 1969, First Paperback Edition. Copyright 1940. *Fanciful, star crossed lovers story of the Blue Willow pattern often used to explain the Canton pattern. Very nicely Illustrated.

Wilson, Jane. Canton China. Essex, CT: Riverside Press, 1961. Print. **This is the 1st edition, 24 page booklet which Mrs. Wilson published in 1961 as a sales tool for her antique business.

Wilson, Jane. Canton China. 2nd Edition ed. Essex, Connecticut: Riverside Press, Inc., 1966. Print.  **This is the 2nd edition, 44 page booklet which Mrs. Wilson published in 1966 as a sales tool for her antique business.

Wilson, Jane. Canton China. 3rd ed. Essex, Conn.: Riverside Press, 1977. Print.  ***This is the 3rd edition of a 64 page booklet devoted almost entirely to Canton for the Collector. Jane Wilson was one of the pioneer Canton dealers who is discussed under the Museum’s Pioneer Dealer section. All 3 editions are recommended for their early information on Canton.


The Society For The Preservation of New England Antiquities (Historic New England). Volume LI, No. 2 October-December, 1960 Serial No. 182. Blue and White “India-China” By John Robinson. ***Excellent early article on the China Trade with focus on the Canton, Nanking and Fitzhugh patterns. This is a reprint with photos of the original SPENA article published in January, 1924. We find that this is one of the earliest articles on these patterns.  It is 24 pages long with 8 pages picturing Canton pieces. There are also 3 pages devoted to knobs and handles on Canton & Nanking pieces. Additionally, there is an article by Nina Fletcher Little entitled “The Influence of Oriental Export Porcelain in Europe”. This article discusses the East India Companies of England and Holland importing Chinese porcelain into Europe and reshipping the porcelain to America …”in considerable quantities during the eighteenth century…as early as 1728 ‘Blew and White burnt China in Setts’ was advertised for sale in the Boston Gazette, and ‘East-India ware called China-Ware’ continued to be mentioned….” 

New Jersey Goodlife Magazine. Volume VI, No. 3, November 1988. Published monthly by Lifestyle Media Group, Inc., Somerset, NJ. A traditional Thanksgiving by Amy Hatrak**This article contains a brief Thanksgiving history and 10 recipes. There are four very nice pictures of a bountiful Thanksgiving feast all served on a dozen Canton pieces supplied by: Hoby Van Deusen!


Bruce Museum of Arts and Science. China Trade in New England, A Connecticut Captain’s Journey. October 30, 2004-March 6, 2005 Exhibition. Greenwich, CT Curated by Cynthia A. Drayton, Curatorial Assistant & Robin Garr, Director of Education. *16 pages. Brief history of China Trade. No Canton, 2 Fitzhugh pieces, 1 Nanking, 1 Mandarin & 2 Butterfly.

Crossman, Carl L. A Design Catalog of Chinese Export Porcelain for the American Market. Salem, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum 1964. **This 48 page exhibition catalog describes and pictures some of the Custom Designed Export Porcelain, Canton, Nanking, Fitzhugh, Rose Medallion and Rose Canton, Mandarin, Celadon and Variant Patterns on display. The Canton section is 3 pages long, lists 24 items and pictures 4: twisted handled Fruit Basket & Stand, Mug, Gravy/Sauce Boat, Hot Water Dish.

New Haven Colony Historical Society. An Exhibition of China Trade Porcelain. March 3–April 28,1968. **This 100 page soft cover catalog pictures Canton on page 68 (soup tureen) and 93-94 (leaf dish, bulb tray, 3 piece octagonal dome top butter dish & a tazza). Canton description & listings on pages 52-54. Also discussed are Nanking, Fitzhugh, etc.

Washington and Lee University-Reeves Collection. Chinese Export Porcelain from the Reeves Collection. Lexington, Virginia, 1973. Prepared by Callie Huger Efird & Katharine Gross Farnham. **Soft cover, 56 page exhibition catalog. Reviews part of a very large collection given to W&L by Mr. & Mrs. Euchlin D. Reeves of Providence, RI in 1967. Mostly about designs, there is not too much about blue and white porcelain. There are 2 pages, 16 & 18, devoted to the Canton pattern. There is one Canton picture, of a clobbered scalloped bowl, which brings to four the number known of this rare form. 9 Canton pieces are biefly discussed. Also pictured is a Nanking cider jug and 5 Fitzhugh pieces. 

Links:  This link is an important site to lookup Chinese character marks that you might find on Chinese Export porcelain. Also: Porcelain Glossary; Recommended Porcelain Books; Chronology & History of China