Teapot and presentoir

ARTIST / MAKER: Johann Friedrich Eberlein (modeller)
Johann Joachim Kändler (modeller)
Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)
DATE: 1735 (made)
PLACE: Germany (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain with moulded and applied porcelain decoration, painted in overglaze enamels and gilt

This teapot and presentoir (‘presenting tray’) were once part of a larger ‘breakfast service’ designed by Johann Joachim Kändler and Johann Friedrich Eberlein, two of Meissen’s most significant modellers. The success of the Meissen manufactory was largely based on the porcelain completed under Kändler’s technical and artistic direction and the application of naturalistic blossoms and foliage, which decorate this teapot and presentoir, are one of his most creative innovations. The production of this design was thoroughly documented by Kändler, who reported that every piece was unique and moulded by hand with the aid of cone-shaped plaster stamps to create naturalistic, curved forms. In the 18th century, important gifts of porcelain services were made for royal courts, and Kändler states in his records that services of this design were gifted to three members of the royal family from 1735 to 1739: to the Electress of Saxony, Regina of Poland, and wife to Augustus III, Queen Maria Josepha (1699–1757), to princess Sophia Dorothea of Prussia (1719–1765), and to princess Wilhelmina of Prussia (1709–1758).

The well of the presentoir and the inside of the teapot lid are embellished with gilt medallions containing painted scenes in purple camaïeu, a painting technique which involves using various tints of a single colour to create a monochromatic image. The services of this design which belonged to the princesses Sophia Dorothea of Prussia and Wilhelmine of Prussia were recorded as only having applied floral decoration, therefore it is likely that this teapot and presentoir once formed part of Queen Maria Josepha’s service, which featured both applied and painted decoration.