Chinese export porcelain oval tureen with a cover with a red enameled crown finial, decorated in the Famille rose palette in pink, purple, green, turquoise, yellow, orange-red, blue and gilding. Soup tureens became fashionable dining accessories in the 18th century when service à la française (in the French manner) became the rage. This method of dining prescribed that the meal be divided into several courses; all of the dishes for the first course were set out on the table before the guests arrived. Soup was a prominent feature of the first course, and traditionally hostesses served at least two kinds, usually a broth-based and cream-based soup. Diners received only small amounts of soup to take the edge off their hunger. The two molded handles on this tureen, inspired by Meissen porcelain prototypes, resemble a mask or face with plumed headdresses. Developed at Meissen in the 1730s, the tureen’s design is attributed to Johann Gottlieb Kirchner (b.1706) who worked as a sculptor at the Meissen Porcelain Factory from 1727-1728 and 1730-1735. He is recorded as designing thirty handles, finials, feet and various relief ornaments; the earliest shape used for soup tureens modeled at Meissen dates from about 1732. Later Meissen variations through the 1730s were designed by Johann Joachim Kandler (working 1731-1775) and Johann Friedrich Eberlain (working 1735-1749). The decoration with its randon floral sprays is often called the “Thistle” or “Chrysanthemum” pattern. The original design source remains unknown, but pieces of Marseille faience (tin-glazed earthenware) manufactured around 1760 are found in a similar pattern. Regardless of its origins, this decoration achieved great popularity throughout Europe, particularly in Scandinavia and Germany. Plates with this same design were owned by Samuel (1739-1820) and Judith Verplanck, a prominent family in 18th-century New York City who lived at 3 Wall Street from 1763-1803. The tureen's domed cover has bands of green half leaves and pink flower half-heads reserves alternating with gilt scrolls on a orange-red ground, and a blue band and gilt spear border around the rim edge; the cover and tureen are decorated with scattered floral sprays. The applied raised foot has a band of pink flower half-heads reserves alternating with gilt scrolls on a orange-red ground.
Link to share this object record: