The close trade connections that flourished between England and China in the 18th century are literally painted on this plate. Because the English East India Company was the first to establish an official factory in the city of Guangzhou, it enjoyed a trade monopoly with China and carried out private orders of porcelain for English clients. This plate is enamelled in the centre with a large armorial of the Lee of Coton family from Shropshire, quartered with the Astley family of Staffordshire. The border is finely painted in grisaille with scenes of Guangzhou and London, the points of manufacture and destination of the plate in its journey from fabrication to client. Interestingly, the Chinese decorator painted junks instead of barges on the Thames. The plate would have been part of a dinner service and was intended to display social status and family affiliation.