s Chipstone | Tureens with covers and stands (pair)

Tureens with covers and stands (pair)

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Tureens with covers and stands (pair), 1760-1770
in. (cm)
The Chipstone Foundation 1949.6.1-2

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Famille rose decoration, covers with crown finials.
Tureen: molded oval form with a convex lid, flared side, spread foot, crown finial, and two animal mask handles. Enamel decoration consists of red and gold on the finial and green at its base; sprays of red, yellow, violet, and blue flowers with green leaves are painted on the lid and the body. A red diaper border enclosing panels of blue floral sprays is painted around the rim which is edged with a gold line. The animal masks are painted red and black. Stand: molded oval form with a recessed well and a flat rim. A red diaper border enclosing panels of blue floral sprays is painted around the rim which is edged with a gold line. Sprays of red, yellow, violet, and blue flowers and green leaves are painted in the well and extending onto the rim.

The relatively high cost of porcelain tablewares produced at the Meissen factory near Dresden encouraged other porcelain factories to compete directly with Meissen by copying Meissen forms and decoration. English porcelain manufacturers were quick to enter this trade: Meissen wares were known and in demand, and English firms that were capable of offering high quality interpretations of known Meissen forms and decoration enabled them to tap a market for porcelains that echoed Meissen forms but were priced lower.

The strength of this market is shown by this tureen and stand that was possibly made porcelain-manufacturing center at Jingzhen, China. The crown finials on the tureens were taken directly from Meissen examples that were made about the middle of the 18th century. [1] The output of the Chinese porcelain factories was so great that the cost of these finely-modeled, hand painted tureens and matching stands could be lower than Meissen originals--even with shipping costs from China to Europe were factored into the retail price. Although the Meissen factory and English porcelain manufacturers were successful at providing porcelain wares to an elite clientele, the market demand was strong enough that the nearly unlimited output of China’s porcelain kilns could also find ready buyers for their tablewares in Europe and in England.

The date of manufacture of these tureens roughly coincides with the occupation of Meissen by Frederick the Great of Prussia during the Seven years’ War that was waged between 1756 and 1763. As a result of this occupation, production at Meissen diminished, which probably spurred the production of Meissen-inspired porcelain in China, at Sèvres, and in England. [2] These tureens were probably once part of a complete matching table service. Owning a service that included this pair of matching tureens with stands (a second matching stand is now separated) was an extravagance reserved for particularly large and wealthy households. Tureens were used for serving soups and stews, their covers helping to keep the contents warm, and the stand prevented errant drips from falling onto the table.

[1] A ca. 1740 Meissen tureen of this form and having a crown finial and goat mask terminals on the handles sold at Sotheby’s, London, sale no. WO2826, November 26, 2002, lot 192. [2] The occupation made Sèvres the leading producer of porcelain on the Continent. See Catherine Beth Lippert, Eighteenth-Century English Porcelain in the Collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1988), p. 14

Richard Miller, 2010

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