ARTIST / MAKER: Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)
DATE: ca. 1745 (made)
PLACE: Germany (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels and gilt

As the fashion for Chinoiserie designs declined, the painting of naturalistic elements of flowers, fruits, and insects on Meissen porcelain became prominent from the 1730s. One of the main decorative elements on this teapot is the pomegranate, a fruit unfamiliar to Saxony at the time, but inspired by the botanical drawings of the Flemish artist Joris Hoefnagel (1542-1601). Courtpainter to the Emperor Rudolf II in Prague, Hoefnagel’s Archetypa Studiaque Patris Georgii Hoefnagelii was published in 1592 and was immediately in high demand among artists and craftspeople. The re-publication in the early 18th century by Nuremberg printmaker Christoph Weigel accounts for their popularity and appearance on Meissen porcelain over 100 years later. Originally printed in black and white, the Meissen decorators would use their own artistic flair to paint exotic looking and appealing fruits.

The wishbone handle and bird mask spout were popular elements on Meissen teapots from 1730-1760. The handle developed from the classic rounded shape as more sculptural pieces became fashionable with buyers, and included a scrolling thumbpiece at the top of the handle for ease of use.