A rare Meissen armorial tureen, cover and stand from the service for the Marquis Ensenada, circa 1746
Lot 182
A rare Meissen armorial tureen, cover and stand from the service for the Marquis Ensenada, circa 1746
Sold for £ 18,750 (US$ 26,343) inc. premium

Lot Details
A rare Meissen armorial tureen, cover and stand from the service for the Marquis Ensenada, circa 1746 A rare Meissen armorial tureen, cover and stand from the service for the Marquis Ensenada, circa 1746
A rare Meissen armorial tureen, cover and stand from the service for the Marquis Ensenada, circa 1746
Modelled by Peter Reinicke after a silver shape, of quatrelobe form with scroll feet and handles, moulded with gadrooned and fluted borders, the cover and stand moulded with cartouches painted with the arms of Zenón de Somodevilla y Bengoechea, 1st Marquis de Ensenada, the stand with the arms repeated in the centre, the stand and cover also moulded with floral trellis panels, the cover with a finial composed of an artichoke surrounded by cauliflower florets and flowers, all pieces further decorated by scattered flower sprigs, brown-edged rims, the stand: 52.5cm across handles, crossed swords marks in underglaze-blue, impressed 54 to stand (3)


  • Provenance:
    With A. Beurdeley fils, Pavillon de Hanovre, Boulevard des Italiens, Paris, circa 1875-95 (according to the label on the stand);
    Monsieur Comtesse, Freetown, Sierra Leone, sold by Christie's Geneva, 22 April 1970, lot 139;
    With Heinz Reichert, Freiburg i.B.;
    E.A. Titgemeyer Collection, Osnabrück, acquired from the above in 1972

    Zenón de Somodevilla y Bengoechea, 1st Marquis de Ensenada (1702-81), rose from humble origins to become one of the most powerful and able Spanish statesmen of his time. He began his career in the navy and played an important part in the military operations that brought Charles VII (later Charles III of Spain) to the throne of Naples. Philip V of Spain appointed Ensenada Secretary to the Ministries of Finance, War, the Navy and the Indies, to which were subsequently added the posts of Secretary of State, Superintendent General of Revenues, Lieutenant General of the Admiralty and Public Notary of the Kingdoms of Spain. His success in these posts excited envy that led to his exile to Granada in 1754. Charles III recalled him to the court in 1760, but he was exiled for the second time in 1766. He was awarded the Order of St. Gennaro, which can be seen on the present service, in 1744. For further discussion of his career, and the two Chinese Export armorial services that he ordered, see R. Diaz, Chinese Armorial Porcelain for Spain (2010), pp. 120ff.

    It is not yet clear whether the service was a gift from the Saxon court, as seems likely, or ordered by Ensenada for his own use. In any case, service elements 'for the Spanish Envoy' are recorded in the Meissen archives between October 1745 and July 1746. According to Peter Reinicke's work records, he began work on the tureen in December 1745 and completed work on it the following month: 'Die angefangenen gewesene Terrine für den Spanischen Herrn Gesandten vollends verfertiget, und zwar den Deckel von 2 Schildern mit Zierathen und Artischoken-Blättern, das Untertheil mit Quadronen, 2 Henkel und 2 Füße von franz. Zierathen' [The tureen already begun for the Spanish Envoy completely finished, that is, the cover with two shields with decorations and artichoke leaves, the lower half with gadroons, two handles and two feet of French ornament]. Between February and July he also worked on an ice bucket, candelabra, a circular tureen, and in June 1746, a stand for the large tureen. Reinicke's notes sometimes specify that the models are based upon silver shapes. In October 1745, J.F. Eberlein notes commencing work on a plat de menage for the Spanish envoy depicting the Three Graces beneath a tree.

    A similar tureen, cover and stand from the same service is in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, published by Hermann Jedding, Meissener Porzellan des 18. Jahrhunderts (1979), no. 152 (the stand also published by Rainer Rückert, Meissener Porzellan 1710-1810 (1966), no. 496). Another tureen and cover of the same shape but a different - as yet unidentified - armorial was in the Dr. Roy Byrnes Collection, sold Christie's London, 12 May 2010, lot 84, but it seems likely that the service elements for the Spanish Envoy were intended for Ensenada.

    The dealership founded in the early 19th century by Jean Beurdeley and developed by his son Louis Auguste Alfred, was by the 1850s one of the most successful antique dealers in Paris, which counted the 4th Marquess of Hertford, the Empress Eugénie and the Rothschilds among their customers. From 1838, the shop was located at the Pavillon de Hanovre on the Boulevard des Italiens where paintings by old masters such as Chardin, Boucher and Fragonard, as well as porcelain, bronzes and furniture were on offer. Lionel de Rothschild wrote in 1864 to his son Leopold: "Mamma has only been to see the Beurdeley Curiosities (...) but the high prices frighten everybody." In 1875 Emmanuel Alfred Beurdeley took over the business and considerably developed the cabinet maker's workshop. He was known in the art world as "Alfred Beurdeley fils" and under his direction the shop had an international reputation for offering the best of the 18th century works of art. It was closed in 1895 and no less than 20 auctions had to be held to disperse its stock. After he retired, Emmanuel Alfred's reputation as a collector grew, notably for 18th century French drawings and fine Chinese ceramics.

    We are most grateful to Dr. Jochem Kroes for identifying the hitherto unrecognised arms on this service.
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