Fragments of a Meissen model of a classical temple
Lot 65
Fragments of an important Meissen model of a classical temple of Minerva circa 1747
Sold for £20,400 (US$ 34,353) inc. premium
Auction Details
Fragments of a Meissen model of a classical temple Fragments of a Meissen model of a classical temple Fragments of a Meissen model of a classical temple Fragments of a Meissen model of a classical temple Fragments of a Meissen model of a classical temple
Lot Details
Fragments of an important Meissen model of a classical temple of Minerva
circa 1747
Originally composed of two columns at each corner raised on pedestals joined by balustrades, mounted with military trophies and with arches linking the entablature, a figure of Minerva in the centre (now lacking) on an oval pedestal, 64cm maximum height approx., crossed swords marks in underglaze-blue to rear of bases of armorial trophies (extensive damage and losses) (qty)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Gustav and Charlotte von Klemperer Collection, Dresden, to 1938;
    Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Porzellansammlung im Zwinger, Inv. no. PE 1868 (section of base), to 2010

    Literature:
    Schnorr von Carolsfeld 1928, no. 498

    For a recent discussion of Meissen temples, see Patricia F. Ferguson, "Felbrigg's folly: the Meissen 'Temple of Honour' in Dresden." Apollo, suppl. Historic Houses and Collections Annual (2010): 12-17. For a discussion of the Dresden Hof-Conditorei, or Court Pantry, and its role in providing the table decoration at important court festivities, such as marriage celebrations, as well as some of the important gifts of porcelain see Cassidy-Geiger 2002.

    The author notes (p. 21) that the first published mention of the use of a table centrepiece with Meissen porcelain is in an account of the state dinner held to mark the marriage of Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony to the Dauphin of France in early 1747. The account describes an elaborate temple of Apollo made with Meissen porcelain columns and numerous figures. Two more of Augustus III's children were married in June of the same year: both celebrations involved Meissen temples, including a temple of Diana and representations of Bavarian palaces at the wedding celebrations of Princess Maria Anna of Saxony and the Elector Max Emmanuel of Bavaria, while the wedding of the Crown Prince Friedrich Christian to Princess Maria Antonia of Bavaria was a more sober affair (p. 23).

    In addition to the Royal Court Pantry in Dresden, Henrich Graf von Brühl's own Court Pantry famously contained a vast number of Meissen figures, a huge temple including 115 columns and 74 figures, as well as numerous components for temples, such as columns and armorial trophies, an indication of the lavish scale of display and representation that Brühl required. The British Minister in Dresden in the late 1740s, Sir Charles Hanbury-Williams, recorded the effect of such magnificent display: "I was once at a Dinner where we sat down at one table two hundred and six People (twas at Count Brühl's) when the Desert was set on, I thought it was the most wonderful thing I ever beheld. I fancyd myself either in a Garden or at an Opera, But I could not imagine that I was at a Dinner. In the middle of the Table was the Fountain of the Piazza Navona in Rome, at least eight foot high, which ran all the while with Rose-water, and tis said that Piece alone cost six thousand Dollars. I verily believe that Count Brühl has above thirty thousand Pounds worth of China in his house." (quoted by Ilchester 1929, p. 188).

    Although different models of Meissen temples have survived, including those in the Dresden porcelain collection and the Museum für Kunsthandwerk in Frankfurt, no other examples of this model are recorded in the literature.
Activities
Contacts
  1. Nette Megens
    Specialist - European Ceramics
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
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