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

In the 17th and 18th centuries, there was a great awareness of Natural History in Europe with the classification and naming of species of particular interest. The publication of the entomological works by naturalist Maria Sybille Merian (1647-1717) were some of the first in Europe to study and observe insects and looked at the metamorphosis of butterflies. Her publications on Caterpillars (1679), Erucarum Ortus (1718) and Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (1705) included botanical etchings and engravings which provided design inspiration for the artists at Meissen in order to cater to the trend. As the fashion for Chinoiserie design declined, these naturalistic elements depicting butterflies and moths became prominent on Meissen porcelain from the 1730s.

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