A Bow Figure of Arlecchino, circa 1755

This Bow figure depicts the Italian Commedia dell’arte character Arlecchino (Harlequin) sitting on a rock and holding a set of bagpipes. He wears a pale yellow shirt with a white ruff, puce striped breeches with gilt buttons, red shoes, and a puce coloured conical hat.

This figure is after a Meissen original of circa 1745, modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler.

The French composer Louis-Charles Daquin (1694-1772) described the bagpipe (musette de cour) as the instrument of ‘lovers of fêtes champêtres and other pastoral amusements, because it recalls the idyllic times when shepherds courted their sweethearts by joining their voices to the soft, flattering tones of the bagpipe. The musette was made for the solitude of the forests and to express the sighs of a lover…’. Unfolding Pictures: Fans in the Royal Collection (Royal Collection Publications, 2005).

Condition: Restoration to the pipes, fingers (end of forefinger missing from right hand), and the tip of his left foot. No other damage or restoration. The exquisitely painted face is particularly appealing.

Dimensions: Height 12.5 cm

Bow Porcelain: The Collection formed by Geoffrey Freeman, A. Gabszewicz & G. Freeman (Lund Humphries, 1982).

Eighteenth Century Porcelain Figures 1745-1796, Peter Bradshaw (Antique Collectors’ Club, 1981).