A Meissen teapot and cover from the service for Pope Benedict XIV circa 1743
Lot 89
A Meissen teapot and cover from the service for Pope Benedict XIV circa 1743
Sold for £45,600 (US$ 70,843) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Meissen teapot and cover from the service for Pope Benedict XIV
circa 1743
Painted on one side with the arms of Pope Benedict XIV and a quay scene on the reverse depicting elegant figures by palatial waterside buildings, within an elaborate gilt cartouche of foliate scrollwork and trellis panels edged in brown and enclosed by iron-red and purple scrollwork, reserved with an oval purple monochrome landscape vignette, the animal spout embellished in gilding and the wishbone handle in gilding and purple, gilt foliate scrollwork borders to the rims, gilt pinecone finial, 9.5cm high, crossed swords mark in underglaze-blue, impressed 1 (2)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Gift from Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, to Pope Benedict XIV in May 1743;
    Anon. sale, Christie's London, 5 December 1994, lot 225;
    Acquired in the above sale

    Literature:
    Hoffmeister 1999, II, no. 317

    Exhibited:
    Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, 1999-2009

    The gift in 1743 of a tea, coffee and chocolate service from Augustus III to Pope Benedict XIV (1675-1758) has been discussed in detail by Maureen Cassidy-Geiger (Cassidy-Geiger 2007, pp. 230-231). The gift is one of many examples of Meissen porcelain that serve to illustrate not only its importance and value as diplomatic gifts, but also the strong ties between Rome and the newly Catholic ruling dynasty in Saxony.

    The gift was presented to the pope in the garden of the Quirinale Palace in May 1743, as reported by the Roman chronicle Diario ordinario on 18 May: Sunday morning the most excellent Signor Cardinal Annibale Albani San Clemente, Protector of the Kingdom of Poland, went to [the Palazzo del] Quirinale to present to The Holiness of Our Lord [Benedict XIV] a most beautiful gift sent here by the Majesty of the King of Poland to His Holiness himself, consisting of three very refined services for chocolate, tea and coffee of the finest Saxon porcelain with gold borders and with the arms of His Beatitude, who received it with special pleasure; and in connection with the giving of this gift, being from the Kingdom [of Poland] came two Polish miners in gold and silver [costumes], who were also presented at the same time to the Holy Father, who had the kind condescension to allow them to kiss his feet in the garden of the Quirinale where he was taking a walk (quoted by Cassidy-Geiger 2007, p. 231).

    The miners were in fact on a mission to advise the Papal State on the viability of mines. The porcelain service they delivered served both to illustrate the qualities of Saxon porcelain, and, with a depiction of the Catholic Hofkirche in Dresden as it would look when it was finished, to symbolise the progress of Catholicism in Protestant Saxony (Cassidy-Geiger 2007, p. 231).

    The waste bowl from the service is in the Arnhold Collection, New York (Cassidy-Geiger 2008, no. 161), and the coffee pot, sugar bowl, teapot stand and six teabowls and saucers, are in the Ludwig Collection in Bamberg (Hennig (ed.) 1995, no. 147). Another teabowl and saucer from the Hoffmeister Collection (no. 316) was sold in these Rooms, 26 May 2010, lot 74. A coffee cup and saucer was sold by Sotheby's Milan from the Vivolo Collection, 13 November 2007, lot 144.
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