The Chitra Collection: European Porcelains

The Chitra Collection: European Porcelains
This 1724 Meissen tea canister is decorated with oriental figures wearing exotic clothes, holding fans, baskets of fruit, and umbrellas, and surrounded by flowering shrubs and flying insects, scenes that were fashionable at Meissen until the late 1730s. In 1720, Meissen appointed Johann Höroldt as chief painter at the factory, and his experimentation with enamels led to the development of 16 new colors used to embellish pieces such as this canister.

By 1710, Meissen was making pieces for the consumption of tea, coffee, and chocolate. As the technology improved, the factory produced services that included six cups and saucers, chocolate cups, a coffee pot, a teapot, a tea caddy, a container for sugar, and a waste bowl. Many of these were decorated and gilded by local artists and goldsmiths in Dresden and presented as royal gifts.

In 1728, records tell us that Augustus the Strong sent a gift of porcelain to Sophie Dorothea, Queen of Prussia and daughter of the King of England: “The following items . . . from his Royal Porcelain warehouse . . . sent by July 18th to Prussia 6 finely enameled little saucers and tea bowls with gold decoration and colorfully painted Japanese figures, with 1 waste-bowl, 1 coffee pot, 1 teapot, 1 sugar box, and 1 tea caddy.” In Italy, the Roman Chronicle Diario Ordinario for May 18th 1743 contains this entry: “Sunday morning the most excellent Signor Cardinal Annibale Albani San Clemente, Protector of the Kingdom of Poland, went to the [Palazzo del] Quirinale to present to The Holiness of Our Lord [Pope Benedict XIV] a most beautiful gift sent here by the Majesty of the King of Poland to his Holiness himself, consisting of three very refined services for chocolate, tea and coffee of the finest Saxon porcelain with gold borders and with the arms of his Beatitude, who received it with pleasure.” And after a visit to England, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, stated in 1784: “Throughout the whole of England the drinking of tea . . . provides the rich with an opportunity to display their magnificence in the matter of tea-pots, cups and so on. . . .”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.