Becher mit Unterschale
Lot 78
A very rare Meissen armorial two-handled beaker and saucer from the service for the Elector Clemens August of Cologne dated 1735
Sold for £61,200 (US$ 102,760) inc. premium
Lot Details
A very rare Meissen armorial two-handled beaker and saucer from the service for the Elector Clemens August of Cologne
dated 1735
Each superbly painted with a chinoiserie scene on a gilt scrollwork bracket filled with Böttger lustre and enclosing a quatrelobe purple monochrome estuary scene, the saucer with two figures and a child holding the gilt CA monogram, the beaker with a figure and two children by a notice on a tree inscribed 'Clement/ August/ 1735', the reverse of the saucer with the Elector's Coat-of-Arms, gilt scrollwork borders to rims, the beaker: 6.7cm high, the saucer: 12.8cm diam., crossed swords marks in underglaze-blue, impressed (unidentified) Dreher's mark of an asterisk (2)


  • Provenance:
    Probably ordered by the Elector Clemens August of Cologne in 1735;
    Recorded in February, 1761, in the Indianisches Haus in Brühl, and moved to Bonn the same year;
    Purchased at the auction of the late Elector's possessions at the Bonn Residence by Hofrat Vogel in the name of Herr von Derme in March 1764;
    Anon. sale, Christie's Geneva, 16 November 1992, lot 350;
    Acquired in the above sale

    Hoffmeister 1999, II, no. 311;
    Iwe 2005, pp. 30 and 43;
    Unterberg 2005, p. 61, ills. 12 and 13

    Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, 1999-2009

    This beaker and saucer bear the coat of arms of Clemens August of Bavaria, Elector of Cologne (1700-1761). Born in Brussels, he was the fourth son of Elector Maximilian II Emanuel of Bavaria and Teresa Kunegunda Sobieska, and the grandson of King Jan III Sobieski of Poland. Following his theological studies, Clemens August became a priest in 1725 and was made a bishop by Pope Benedict XIII in 1727. By virtue of his birth, he had already become Bishop of Münster and Paderborn in 1719, and in 1723, he became Archbishop and Elector of Cologne and was elected Bishop of Hildesheim the following year. In 1728, he was elected Bishop of Osnabrück, and in 1732, he was elected Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. He thus accrued enormous power and wealth in both the religious and secular spheres, and is renowned to this day for his patronage of the arts, his elegant court, and his magnificent castles, such as Augustusburg and Falkenlust in Brühl, and Clemenswerth near Osnabrück.

    The celebrated tea, coffee and chocolate service of which this beaker and saucer formed a part, has recently been the subject of detailed studies by Thomas Iwe and Michael Unterberg (see Literature), and has also been considered in the context of diplomacy between the courts in Dresden and Cologne (Köhler 2007), on which the following note is mostly based.

    The Saxon ambassador at the electoral Court in Cologne, Heinrich Balduin von Schenk, reported in the late 1720s that Clemens August held Meissen porcelain in high regard, and suggested at least twice that Augustus the Strong should make him a gift of porcelain (Köhler 2007, pp. 200-201). Despite this, it appears that this magnificent service, with its unique and highly personal scheme of chinoiserie figures paying homage to Clemens August, was most likely commissioned by the Elector, rather than a gift from the Dresden Court, with which relations were then strained. The inventory made after the Elector's death in 1761, records that the service was housed in the Indianisches Haus, a chinoiserie house in the park of Schloss Augustusburg, the third in Europe after Augustus the Strong's Japanese Palace and Schloss Pillnitz. The informal atmosphere that prevailed there may have been appropriate to the service, the decoration of which may also be read as a caricature of court ceremonial (Köhler, op. cit., p. 202).

    The service originally included twelve such beakers and saucers; for a comprehensive description of the service, and the current whereabouts of the pieces, see above Literature. Another double-handled beaker and saucer from this service, previously sold at Sotheby's London, 29 June 1982, was sold at Christie's London, 11 December 2007, lot 105.