Before the decorative workshops were established at Meissen, plain white porcelain wares were often sold onto hausmalers (house painters), who would decorate and sell the pieces from their own workhops. Hausmaler activity flourished in cities such as Augsburg, a city renowned for being a centre of high quality artisanal trade. Although the hausmalerei system was at first accepted by Meissen, it soon became viewed as a competitive practice that they sought to stop.
This tea bowl and saucer was decorated by Anna Elizabeth Wald, a porcelain decorator who, with her sister Sabina, took over their father Johann Aufenwerth’s painting workshop in Augsburg upon his death in 1728. They are the first documented female ‘Hausmalerei’ artists and specialised in decorative gilding and enamel painting of chinoiserie scenes, following the style of those produced by Johann Gregorius Horoldt’s workshop within Meissen. Although not at the level of the factory painters, the Auffenwerth sisters were accomplished decorators whose workshop became one of the most lucrative and prosperous of the hausmalers.