ARTIST / MAKER: R. Bilse (painter)
DATE: 1801 (made)
PLACE: Austria (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain with painted enamel and gilded decoration

The Vienna Porcelain manufactory was founded by the Dutchman Claudius Innocentius du Paquier in May 1718. Du Paquier porcelain rivalled that made at Meissen however due to financial complications, du Paquier was forced to sell his manufactory in 1744. After a series of different directors, it was Conrad Sörgel von Sorgenthal who restored the reputation of the manufactory and brought it to its artistic peak, from 1784 to his death in 1804. This tray was made during the factory’s ‘Sorgenthal era’ (1784-1805), a golden age in terms of production and innovation, which was spurred by Conrad Sörgel von Sorgenthal’s management. The porcelain produced by the factory during this period reflects the revival of neo-classical styles and typically features relief gold decoration, palmettes and classical imagery. This tray’s ornament clearly draws from Greek mythology and Olympian figures: The painted and gilt celestial scene depicts various Greek gods and goddesses among clouds, including Zeus, Juno and her peacock, Poseidon, Hestia, Athena, and Nike among others.