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21 cm (8 ¹/₄ inches)
Contemporary silver-gilt mounts, finial added later
This polished Böttger stoneware tankard has a broad applied strap handle and stands on a moulded foot with a silver-gilt mount, above which the sides of the vessel bear vertical fields that are alternately polished to a high shine and decorated in relief with a lozenge pattern. The silver-gilt lid rises in shallow steps to a round finial that was added later. A notable feature of the lid is its floral ornamentation, in which the silver of the leaves and petals was left ungilded, creating a charming contrast to the golden background. The thumb-rest of the mounted lid takes the form of a female mascaron.
As the stoneware was extremely hard and difficult to handle once it had been through the kiln, the diapering on the sides was impressed into the paste with a plaster or wooden mould before the piece was fired. All the manufacturers did after the firing was to polish the piece to a high shine with a lead-coated grinding wheel. It was rare for wares to be given this kind of diapered relief decoration. The skill that went into the decorative finish and the magnificence of the silver-gilt mounts (most probably made in a Nuremberg workshop) make this Böttger stoneware tankard an object of high artistic quality with a character clearly marked by court culture: a luxury object, that is to say, of precisely the kind so highly esteemed by Augustus the Strong (Dresden 1670–1733 Warsaw).
Sarah-Katharina Andres-Acevedo/Hans Ottomeyer (eds.), From Invention to Perfection. Masterpieces of 18th century decorative art, Stuttgart 2016, cat.no. 3, p. 35REF No. 0002
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