Sauceboat, Meissen, hard paste porcelain, c.1740-45


Dating from the period in which Meissen achieved its celebrated white body - truly white gold - this stunning sauceboat is decorated with two gilt-edged quatrelobe panels containing the most exquisitely detailed scenes of figures within a European landscape setting, all reserved on a basketwork (ozier) ground. The rim has a gilt line from which is suspended a gilt scrollwork border.

Blue crossed swords mark to the unglazed base.

In many ways, this piece serves as a perfect example of the ingenious balance between the Baroque and Rococo styles.

The pronounced scrolling lip and handle gives the sauceboat a handsome Baroque profile, reminiscent of earlier silver forms, and the gilt scrollwork border also has links with Bérainesque grotesqueries found in the decorative arts of the late-17th and early-18th Century.

Although far more measured and restrained than the frivolities usually associated with the Rococo style and its asymmetries, the handle, with its daring lightness of touch, and also the obvious humour to be had in holding a 'woven' porcelain basketwork sauceboat, embraces the leaping movements and fanciful conceits of the Rococo.

Condition: Excellent - no damage or restoration, just some light wear to parts of the gilt scrollwork border, and some very minor surface wear to the painted decoration.

Dimensions: Length 22.2 cm; Height (to top of handle) just below 13.3 cm

Ref. A similar sauceboat was in the Brigitte Britzke Collection, Bad Pyrmont, and the V&A Museum has a related basketwork tea bowl and saucer (C.78:1, 2-2006, Arthur and Hilde Weiner Collection).

Meissener Porzellan 1710-1810: Ausstellung im Bayerischen Nationalmuseum, München (Hirmer, 1966).


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