Teapot

ARTIST / MAKER: Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)
Seuter Workshop (painter)
DATE: ca. 1720-1725 (made)
PLACE: Germany (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Böttgerporcelain, gilt with metal mounts
COLLECTION NUMBER: 649

The secret of Chinese porcelain production was finally understood in Germany in 1708 and led to the growth of the European porcelain industry. The discovery of hard-paste porcelain is credited to the mathematician, physicist and physician Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. Following his death, the alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger began producing porcelain at the Meissen porcelain manufactory, where this teapot was created. The body is decorated with Chinese dignitaries being served tea by their attendants. As tea was an exotic drink from China, European manufacturers of the 18th century considered chinoiserie decoration to be especially appropriate for teawares. Bartholomäus and Abraham Seuter specialised in the painting of such figurative scenes that were commonly drawn from contemporary engravings. Based in Augsburg, the Seuter brothers were Hausmalerei (house painters) who decorated Meissen porcelain in their own workshops using polychrome enamels, silver and gold. The metal mounts on this teapot imitate those that were often added to Chinese porcelain when it reached Europe, to demonstrate the rarity and value of these pieces.