The Royal Porcelain Factory in Berlin (Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur or KPM) was founded in 1763 by King Frederick II of Prussia. He had a personal interest in the design and manufacture of porcelain, then known as ‘white gold’, and almost all of his diplomatic gifts came from the factory. In 1765, Frederick the Great commissioned 21 porcelain dinner services for his own court, more than any of his contemporaries would have been able to acquire at this time.
This cabinet cup and saucer were made by KPM in the 19th century and are decorated with scenes depicting a humorous tale. The narrative is transcribed on the back of the saucer and recalls the stroke of bad luck two ladies experienced on a trip to the opera. Mrs. Schluter’s friend, Mrs. Minna Krause, secured for the duo the only set of opera glasses in their small town for the grand event. Upon arriving at the theatre, Mrs. Krause was approached by a seemingly helpful gentleman who offered to hold the valuable glasses for her as she alighted from her carriage. Yet, after she stepped down and looked up to thank the man, he had disappeared and the glasses were not seen again. The quick-footed thief is depicted on the saucer along with the ill-fated opera glasses, while the cup features an intricately handpainted scene of the story as it unfolds.