A Meissen armorial ewer and cover from the Münchhausen service, circa 1745
Lot 44*
A Meissen armorial ewer and cover from the Münchhausen service, circa 1745
Sold for £13,750 (US$ 23,097) inc. premium
Lot Details
A Meissen armorial ewer and cover from the Münchhausen service, circa 1745
Painted in purple monochrome heightened in gilding with a Fabeltier vignette on each side in the manner of A.F. von Löwenfinck, one side with the coat of arms, a scrolling border below the gilt-edged rim, the scroll handle and animal spout heightened in gilding and the bearded mask terminal coloured in flesh tones, the domed cover similarly decorated, 16.8cm high, crossed swords mark in underglaze-blue (minor restoration) (2)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Gift of Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, to Gerlach Adolf von Münchhausen in 1745;
    Anon. sale, Sotheby's London, 15 July 2004, lot 22

    Literature:
    Ulrich Pietsch, Passion for Meissen (2010), no. 80

    Gerlach Adolf Freiherr von Münchhausen (1688-1770) was born into an aristocratic family from Lower Saxony. In 1715, he entered the service of the Elector of Hannover, King George II of England, who appointed von Münchhausen Acting Privy Councillor in 1727, and High Steward of the Prefecture of Celle in 1732. Münchhausen played an increasingly important political role in the years following the death of the Emperor Charles VI, and was particularly trusted by both George II and his successor, George III. The latter appointed him Prime Minister of Braunschweig and the Electorate of Hannover in 1765.

    Claus Boltz has discovered correspondence in the Dresden State Archives showing that von Münchhausen played a leading role during negotiations in 1745 for a loan of 3.5 million Reichstalers by Braunschweig to Saxony. The correspondence between Münchhausen and the Saxon minister, Johann Christian von Hennicke, reveals that Hennicke - who was responsible under Count Brühl for the Meissen manufactory - requested a copy of Münchhausen's arms on 4th January 1745. Münchhausen, in turn, sent a letter of thanks for the 'magnifique Königl. Porcellain present' (magnificent Royal gift of porcelain) on 17th April 1745 (quoted by D. Hoffmeister, Meissener Porzellan des 18. Jahrhunderts (1999), II, p. 602).

    Marcus Köhler has noted (Fragile Diplomacy (2007), pp. 197f.) that in 1745 Münchhausen represented the Elector of Hannover (George II) at the coronation of Stephen of Lorraine as Holy Roman Emperor in Frankfurt. As such, he would have had to attend the coronation and other state banquets, but he also had to host two dinners himself in his capacity as the Elector of Hannover's representative. Köhler also describes (p. 198) the political delicacy involved in this gift: Münchhausen was a servant of the Elector of Hannover, but his estates lay partly in Saxony making him in a sense a subject of the Elector of Saxony. In his letter of thanks, Münchhausen wrote as a "royal subject and vassal of His Royal Majesty in Poland", rather than as a minister of the Elector of Hannover.
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  1. Nette Megens
    Specialist - European Ceramics
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  2. Sebastian Kuhn
    Specialist - European Ceramics
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