Rare Sugar Box and Cover, Meissen, hard paste porcelain, c.1740


This rare Meissen sugar box and cover with gadroon moulding and bud finial, is painted in underglaze blue with borders of alternating flower and insect panels, and vignettes depicting chinoiserie scenes - a man fishing and a bird perched on rockwork - reserved against a s scale-ground.

Clearly in the Baroque manner and perhaps based on the art of the goldsmiths of Augsburg, this Meissen box represents how well metalwork forms could be adapted to suit the luxury of European porcelain and the taste for chinoiserie ornament. This indication of wealth and sophistication does not end with the design itself, as the box would have contained sugar to be served with tea, chocolate or coffee, all expensive commodities imported from overseas for the consumption of the upper echelons of society.


Condition: Very good - no cracks or restoration, just a tiny flat glaze chip to the upper edge of the cover rim. This is not at all obvious as it is on an undecorated area and does not affect the outline. No other damage. There are a few tiny firing imperfections, such as burst bubles and glaze pinholes.

Dimensions: Height 11.5 cm

Refs. For parallels between the Baroque and English ceramics, see Fire and Form: The Baroque and its influence on English ceramics, 1660-1760 (English Ceramic Circle, London, 2013).

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, holds a Meissen rectangular tea canister in this pattern (C.156-1928).

18th-Century German Porcelain, George Savage (Rockliff, 1958).


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