ARTIST / MAKER: Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)
Seuter Workshop (painter)
DATE: ca. 1718 (made)
ca. 1725 (painted)
PLACE: Germany (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain with gilding

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the art and culture of China and Japan was extremely fashionable in Europe. Inspired by this, European designers and craftsmen created fanciful interpretations of the East, known as chinoiserie. Chinoiserie scenes often feature figures in Chinese clothing, fantastical landscapes and pagodas, which were deemed especially appropriate decoration for teawares on account of tea’s Chinese origin. The German brothers Bartolom√§us and Abraham Seuter, who decorated this teapot, specialised in painting figurative chinoiserie scenes, which were commonly drawn from contemporary engravings in travel books on Asia. Based in Augsburg, the Seuter brothers were Hausmaler, or house painters, who purchased undecorated porcelain which they then painted in their workshop. Initially, they decorated plain tin-glazed ceramic ‘in the white’ from the Bayreuth and Nuremberg manufactories, but by 1729 their workshops were painting onto Meissen porcelain using gold, silver and polychrome enamels. The decoration they employed included gilt silhouette chinoiseries, which can be seen on this teapot, flowers, scenes after the French painter Watteau, and Schwarzlot (black enamel decoration) which was in high demand amongst the European aristocracy.