ARTIST / MAKER: Meissen porcelain factory (maker)
DATE: 1715-20 (made)
ca. 1740 (painted)
PLACE: Bayreuth (painted)
Meissen (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels and gilt

The secret of Chinese porcelain production was finally understood in Germany at Meissen in 1708 and led to the growth of the porcelain industry in Europe. The discovery of hard-paste porcelain is credited to the mathematician, physicist and physician Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. Following his death, the alchemist Johann Freidrich Böttger began producing porcelain at the Meissen porcelain manufactory, where this teapot was produced. Meissen porcelain was often decorated by hausmalers, (house painters) who then added decoration in keeping with contemporary tastes and trends. The enamel decoration and gilding on this example were added no later than 1740, by an independent workshop in Bayreuth. The shape of this teapot and applied acanthus leaf decoration has been attributed to the Dresden court goldsmith Johann Jakob Irminger (1635-1724) who typically designed vessels with sculptural and applied forms. It is likely that by the 1730s this sculptural application was considered unfashionable so the addition of coloured enamels helped to modernise the piece.