Tea bowl and saucer

ARTIST / MAKER: Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)
DATE: 1735 (made)
PLACE: Germany (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in enamels and gilt

Europe’s first hard-paste porcelain manufactory was established at Meissen in 1710, a year after the secret to true Chinese porcelain was discovered. Under Augustus the Strong’s royal patronage, Meissen demonstrated Saxony’s scientific and artistic achievements, producing fine porcelain pieces which were admired by the courts of Europe and regularly presented as diplomatic gifts.

This tea bowl and saucer is decorated with flowering branches issuing from stylised rocks. The design is heavily influenced by the Japanese Kakiemon style, characterised by asymmetric blossoms in a palette of green, blue and coral. Kakiemon porcelain was a great source of inspiration for early Meissen pieces as they did not require the application of underglaze blue, a process they were unable to replicate in the early years of production. The gilt lattice border around the rim of the cup and saucer however is a purely Meissen addition.