A very rare Meissen armorial teabowl and saucer from the service for the Elector Clemens August of Cologne circa 1735
Lot 66
A very rare Meissen armorial teabowl and saucer from the service for the Elector Clemens August of Cologne
circa 1735
Sold for £48,000 (US$ 65,127) inc. premium

Lot Details
A very rare Meissen armorial teabowl and saucer from the service for the Elector Clemens August of Cologne
circa 1735
Each superbly painted with a chinoiserie scene on a gilt scrollwork bracket filled with Böttger lustre, enclosing a quatrelobe purple monochrome landscape scene, the saucer with two figures and a child with shield inscribed with the gilt CA monogram, the teabowl with two figures holding a leafy branch from which are suspended the gilt letters C and A, and a Bishop's crosier and a sword, the reverse of the teabowl with the Elector's coat-of-arms, the well with a spray of indianische Blumen, the reverse of the saucer with three sprigs, gilt scrollwork borders to the rims, the saucer: 12.8cm diam.; the teabowl: 4.6cm high, crossed swords marks in underglaze-blue, impressed unidentified Dreher's mark * to both (Rückert 1996, pl. 9, nos. 1 and 2) (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 Demme in March 1764;
    With J.J. Klejman Gallery, New York;
    Frederick J. and Antoinette H. Van Slyke Collection, Baltimore, acquired from the above on 23 June 1956, sold by Sotheby's New York, 26 September 1989, lot 107;
    Acquired in the above sale

    Hoffmeister 1999, II, no. 310;
    Iwe 2005, pp. 35 and 43;
    Unterberg 2005, p. 62

    Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, 1999-2009

    This teabowl 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 teabowl 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 teabowls and saucers; for a comprehensive description of the service, and the current whereabouts of the pieces, see above Literature. Another teabowl and saucer from this service, was sold by Christie's London, 10 July 2007, lot 30. A chocolate beaker and saucer from the service was sold in these Rooms from the Hoffmeister Collection (no. 311), 25 November 2009, lot 78.
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  1. Sebastian Kuhn
    Specialist - European Ceramics
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 8384
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 8252
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