Founded by Claude de Paquier in 1718, The Vienna Porcelain manufactory was the second in Europe after Meissen to produce hard-paste porcelain. In 1744, with the threat of financial collapse, it was bought by the Empress Maria Theresa and became an asset of the monarchy, continuing production until 1864.
This ornately decorated tea cup and saucer was most likely produced as a cabinet cup, an item intended solely for ornamental purposes. Made to display their owner’s taste and wealth, they were considered pieces of art in their own right and collected for display from the late 18th century.
This cup and saucer were produced under the direction of Mathias Niedermayer following a boost from the Congress of Vienna. The use of bright colours and extensive gilding were introduced by the previous director Conrad Sörgel von Sorgenthal between 1784 and 1805.