Mandarin Shutze.

A Chinese Export Life.

Swan House architect Philip Trammell Shutze  was an enthusiastic, talented, and determined collector of decorative arts.

This included a variety of silver, paintings, textiles, and many examples of English and American antique furniture. All of these dated from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Shutze’s passion, however, was ceramics, primarily Chinese and English porcelain and pottery. Importantly, Shutze lived with and enjoyed his collection on a daily basis, rather than simply maintaining it for display. Following his death in 1982, Swan House at Atlanta History Center is now home to Shutze’s fabulous collection. Visit his eclectic vision and highlight those curiosities that would look nice in your home. We’re sure there are many!

The Mandarin Shutze: A Chinese Export Life exhibition is on display on the Swan House Terrace Level. The exhibition and Shutze Gallery are generously funded through a bequest by Harvey M. Smith Jr.

Read more on Shutze’s collecting—be sure to check out page 45!
The book is available at the Atlanta History Center museum gift shop.
Shutze figurines

More than a jumble of nick-nacks, the table in Shutze’s living room served as one of the creative arenas for him to enjoy and be inspired by his collection. Calling them “tablescapes,” he liked to arrange, rearrange, and play with color, form, time periods, and other elements. Shutze had a tangible connection with the individual artifacts of his collection – all 3,000 of them!

Shutze red, white and gold teapot

A pot from an English tea set made by the company Coalport in about 1810. Shutze had a thirst for teapots, collecting nearly four dozen in a wide variety of forms. The China trade with the West was an important market for tea, silk, and porcelain. As silk textiles declined during the 18th century, tea became the wonder commodity that powered the China trade. Demand for tea boomed and by the end of the 18th century, tea alone accounted for over 60% of total trade and provided 10% of the British government’s annual revenue.

Shutze people figurine

Made in China in about 1775, the figure depicts a Portuguese couple. Portugal’s colony at Macau opened China to Western European commerce in 1557. The figure would have been made as a trade commodity, commonly referred to as Chinese Export Porcelain. Portugal’s transfer of sovereignty over the city of Macau to the People’s Republic of China in 1999 made Portugal both the first and last European holding in China.

Shutze pottery

Tin-glazed earthenware, commonly known as Delftware, sought to profit from the European craze for Chinese porcelain. Marco Polo first brought porcelain to Europe from China in 1295. The European word—porcelain in English—comes from the old Italian porcellana (cowrie shell) because of its resemblance to the surface of the shell. Porcelain’s reference as china obviously comes from its association with China, the only source of porcelain for over 400 years. No true porcelain was made in Europe until 1710.

Shutze drawing utensils

Architect’s tools in the exhibition testify to Shutze’s success as America’s Greatest Living Classical Architect—as he was dubbed in the 1970s. In addition to Atlanta History Center’s Swan House, Shutze was the architect of a wide variety of residential styles as well as designs for commercial, financial, religious, public housing, and institutional buildings.

Shutze white and gold tea set

Chinese Export Porcelain made for the American market almost always included the symbols of freedom and independence, such as the national seal with the eagle and rising sun. China made china to order, sometimes as many as 300+ individual pieces in a dinner service—though the commission could take years to receive given the travel time for sailing ships (both ways) and the period needed to manufacture so many pieces.

Shutze white teapot

The lacy delicacy of the circa 1750 teapot displays the beauty and artisanal craftsmanship involved in creating a work of art that is also a functional utilitarian object. Shutze began acquiring such pieces for his collection in his early 60s as he began to retire from his architectural work. Purchasing furiously over a short period of time, most of his significant collecting was completed within four years.

As a collector, Shutze’s first concern was the scholarly pursuit of the object based on careful study, as an expression of taste, respect for the past and a way of living.

Furniture Collection

This is a collection of furniture owned by Atlanta architect Philip Trammell Shutze.

Related Content. Learn More.