A very rare pair of Meissen turtle butter boxes and covers, circa 1720-25
Lot 29
A very rare pair of Meissen turtle butter boxes and covers, circa 1727-28
Sold for £48,050 (US$ 75,419) inc. premium

Lot Details
A very rare pair of Meissen turtle butter boxes and covers, circa 1727-28
Naturalistically modelled by Georg Fritzsche, with the domed shells forming the covers, the sides of the bodies and feet covered in burnished gilding, the shells with a gilt sponged pattern tooled at the edges, each incised 'N' through the gilding at one end of the shell and beneath one neck, 16.5cm long; 7.5cm high (one tail restored) (2)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    The Collection of Thomas Goff, eminent harpsichord maker in London; and by family tradition given by King William IV of England to his mistress 'Mrs Jordan', from whom Goff was descended;
    Private Collection, Switzerland

    Literature:
    Johanna Lessmann, Du Paquier and Meissen: Inspiration and Competition, in M. Chilton (ed.), Fired by Passion: Vienna Baroque Porcelain of Claudius Innicentius Du Paquier (2009), p. 438, ill. 5:30 (one illustrated, image reversed)

    Modelled by Fritzsche to an order from Augustus the Strong: the weekly reports of the Drehers and Formers at the Meissen manufactory between 1722 and 1728 list the model in 1727 and 1728, when several were produced by Fritzsche and Schmahl (published by Claus Boltz, Die wöchentlichen Berichte über die Tätigkeit der Meissner Dreher und Former vom 6. Juni 1722 bis 31. Dezember 1728, Keramos 178 (2002), p. 32.

    Together with the pair in the Pitti Palace, Florence (from the collection of Grand Duke Gian-Gastone (1671-1737), the last Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany; published by T. Clarke/A. d'Agliano, Le Porcellane tedesche di Palazzo Pitti (1999), no. 2), and a similar example in a private collection (J. Lessmann, Du Paquier and Meissen: Inspiration and Competition, in M. Chilton (ed.), Fired By Passion (2009), ill. 5:30), this lot represent the earliest known examples of the Meissen turtle boxes.

    Later examples, all marked with crossed swords, are in the Untermyer Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 64.101.171-172 (Y. Hackenbroch, Meissen and other Continental Porcelain...(1956), fig. 127); Schloss Laubach (published by H. Jedding, Meissener Porzellan des 18. Jahrhunderts (1979), fig. 70); the British Museum (published by A. Dawson, The Glory of Saxony: Meissen Porcelain in the British Museum, The International Ceramics Fair and Seminar Handbook (2005), p. 21, fig. 5); Viginia Museum (J.J. Miller, Eighteenth-Century Meissen Porcelain from the Margaret M. and Arthur J. Mourot Collection (1983), no. 55). In 1734, Kaendler renewed a butter box in the form of a tortoise (Lessmann, op. cit., n. 47).
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  1. Nette Megens
    Specialist - European Ceramics
    Bonhams
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