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Meissen, c. 1725/26
No mark; gilder’s number “12.”
Pot: H. 10.2 cm (4 in.)
Stand: D. 16 cm (6¼ in.)
The slightly squat, round swelling pot on three fully moulded lion’s paw feet is one of the earliest of the genuinely European Meissen vessel forms that are unindebted to any East Asian model or source of inspiration. The lip protrudes over a marked cavetto, the applied handle is a scroll composed of a C and an S, and a disk finial serves as a handle on the slightly domed cover. The pot’s matching stand has a deep, bowl-like shape and stands on a foot ring. The 1721 inventory of the royal Dutch Palace in Dresden records two examples of this model of pot under the number N=32.w (cap.III), using the designation customary at the time: “Soup pots on three lion feet with handles, the covers bearing round, pointed knobs,” [Suppen-Töpffgen auf 3.Löwenfüßgen, mit Henckeln und Deckeln worauff runde spitzige Knöpffgen]. One of these two was a very early example from around 1712 that has been preserved in the Dresden Porcelain Collection.
The bouillon pot and the stand are decorated with horizontal oval quatrefoil cartouches enclosed in magnificent surrounds of gold bands, lustre fields and foliate work in iron-red and gold. The reserves within the cartouches are decorated with exquisite chinoiseries in the light-hearted and witty style characteristic of the painter Philipp Ernst Schindler the Elder (1694–1765), as is the cover. The scene on the stand corresponds to the sketch on fol. 67d of the Schulz Codex. Schindler’s personal artistic style is documented on a stand marked with the cryptogram “PES” (published in Eickelmann 2004, pp. 124–125). One characteristic feature of his painting is his way of bringing out the Chinamen’s chubby cheeks and hands extending from under their richly patterned robes by rendering them in a very plastic manner in iron-red. Furthermore, he frequently painted naked babes held in their mothers’ arms and gave his figures long noses that are in fact hardly typical of Asian faces.
Comparison with the corpus of proven examples of Schindler’s work enables us to date the present bouillon pot and stand to the initial years of the painter’s career. As a miniaturist, Schindler found in porcelain the ideal vehicle on which to develop his unusual artistic gifts and forge an idiosyncratic and umistakable style that is one of the best facets of early Meissen chinoiserie painting and made an important contribution to the manufactory’s worldwide fame.
R. Eickelmann (Hrsg): Meißener Porzellan des 18. Jahrhunderts. Die Stiftung Ernst Schneider in Schloß Lustheim, München 2004