Cylindrical tankard with silver-gilt lid, Meissen, Böttger stoneware, c. 1710–1714. Photo courtesy Röbbig München
H. 21 cm (8¼ in.). Price on request.
This model of cylindrical tankard with its curved strap handle was designed for Meissen by the Dresden goldsmith Johann Jakob Irminger (1635–1724), who was responsible for designs at Meissen from 1710 onwards. In so doing he imitated a form with which we are familiar from many examples from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in other materials such as potter’s clay, alabaster, ivory or the semi-precious stone serpentine. The only element that he added was a new ornamental relief in the form of an alternating sequence of smooth and lozenge-patterned vertical stripes. This décor was impressed upon the paste with a plaster or wood mould before the firing, when the stoneware was extremely hard and could thus only be worked upon with great difficulty. After the firing all that was left to do was to give the smooth surfaces a high shine with a leaded cutting wheel, a working process that was carried out by Bohemian glass-cutters specially employed for this purpose at the Meissen manufactory. The lozenge-pattern relief decoration was only rarely applied and in the present case combines with the magnificent silver-gilt mount and foot ring from an Augsburg workshop to give the tankard an exceptionally subtle and refined finish. In spite of being made in the essentially unprepossessing material of stoneware, this tankard was thus transformed into a high-quality object worthy of use at court and a fine example of the kind of luxury object held in particularly high regard by Augustus the Strong (1670–1733).
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