Pair of Table Candlesticks for the “Gotzkowskys erhabene Blumen” Service

Model by Johann Friedrich Eberlein, 1744
Manufacture and decoration, Meissen, ca. 1750

Crossed swords mark, impressed numbers “46”
H. 29 cm, D. 16.5 cm


J. F. Eberlein, work report, September 1744:
“Made ready 1 candlestick for the flowers service consisting of 2 children with shields and other ornaments and shellwork,” (1 Geritonel zu dem Blumen-Service von 2 Kindern bestehend mit 2 Schildern und anderen Zierrathen und Muschelwerk gefertiget; WA IAb 22, fol. 116).

These candlesticks are outstanding examples of the way Meissen porcelain reflected the latest French taste. Still preserved in the manufactory archive are three prints Louis Desplace (1682–1739) and Gabriel Huquier (1695–1772) engraved in 1734, after a design of 1728 by the Paris sculptor and goldsmith Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier (1695–1750). Possibly, they found their way to Meissen through the good offices of Count Heinrich von Brühl’s master con­fectioner Monsieur La Chapelle. Each of the three prints shows a different angle on a candlestick with a shaft formed by two embracing children who can be viewed from all sides. With their lively shell motifs, the style rocaille plastic ornaments on the engravings only needed to be changed slightly to fit the iconography of Count Brühl’s Swan Service, and were used by Johann Friedrich Eberlein in September 1739 in his candlestick model for the legend­ary ensemble.
The years 1741 to 1744 saw the Berlin wholesaler Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky commissioning a Meissen dining service, which was most probably required by Frederick the Great for his own private use. As the design featured relief moulding in the form of floral garlands, the décor was given the in-house designation “mit erhabenen Blumen” or “with raised flowers.” Not only was this large service model used for customers in Berlin, but in at least one instance, it was used for an order from Paris. This is shown by a service with painted floral decoration and the impaled arms of the Montmartel de Champigny and Béthune families, which became related by marriage in the year 1746.
The Polish King Augustus III also held the elegance of the new tableware model in high regard and made use of it for diplomatic gifts. In 1745, Tsarina Elizabeth Petrovna received ten chests full of porcelain, which, on being unpacked in her presence, were found to contain a dining, coffee, and tea service for twenty-six persons with “Gotzkowskys erhabene Blumen,” its parts bearing painted decoration in the form of floral bouquets and the insignia of the Order of St Andrew. In addition to a large number of figural pieces and garnitures of vases, the shipment also contained thirteen table candlesticks that were moulded on the foot and candleholder with “Gotzkowskys erhabene Blumen,” but had middle sections showing almost exactly the same children and armorial shields as appear on the candlesticks of the Swan Service. The feet are divided up into six sections, three with relief moulding alternating with three left smooth.
Kaendler, who was supervisor of the “Weisses Corps” (the body of workers who moulded and assembled the pieces in porcelain paste), entrusted the task of executing these highly complicated porcelain objects to the experienced assembler or “repairer” Elias Grund the Elder (1703–1758). Having entered the manufactory as an apprentice in 1719, from 1739 Grund marked his pieces with the impressed number “46,” which is found on all known candlesticks from the Swan Service and St Andrew Service, including those discussed above.
It seems that the candlesticks were initially only manufactured for very special occasions, even being absent, for example, from the important diplomatic gift of a “Gotzkowskys erhabene Blumen” service made in 1747 by the Polish King Augustus III to the French minister of foreign affairs, the Marquis d’Argonson. The following decades saw demand rising until in February 1770. Kaendler is to be found making the following note in his work report: “3. Thoroughly renovated a table candlestick in the so-called Gotzkowsky design, the mould for which had become entirely worn out, and made it ready for use” (3. Einen Tafel Leuchter Gotzkowskys so genanntes deßein, welche Form gantz eingegangen wiederum gäntzlich erneuert und behörig brauchbar gemacht; Pietsch 2002, p. 185). The candlesticks may have belonged to a service of which certain items form part of the Hans Syz Collection preserved at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

For comparison:
St Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum


Syz/Miller/Rückert 1979, pp. 390–95, nos. 253–56; exh. cat. Dresden 2000, p. 49 (Meissonnier), p. 167, cat. no. 41 (Swan Service); exh. cat. Dresden 2004, p. 81, nos. 116–19; exh. cat. New York 2007, p. 76, figs. 4–23 (St Andrew Service); Schepkowski 2008, pp. 23–40 (Gotzkowsky); exh. cat. New York 2008, p. 34. fig. 14, pp. 46–47, figs. 6–8 (Meissonier); exh. cat. Tokyo 2009, pp. 74–75 (St Andrew Service); Hanemann 2010, pp. 85–86, no. 77 (St Andrew Service)

REF No. 268