Meissen milk pot and cover (part of a service)


TITLE: Meissen coffee service

MAKER: Meissen Manufactory

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)

MEASUREMENTS: Coffee pot and cover: H. 9¼" 23.5cm; Waste bowl: D. 6" 15.3cm; Sugar bowl and cover: H. 4½" 11.5cm; Milk jug and cover: H. 4⅜" 11.1cm; Oval dish: L. 6⅜" 16.2cm; Tea bowl: H. 1¾" 4.5cm; Saucer: D. 5" 12.8cm

OBJECT NAME: Coffee service

PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany

DATE MADE: 1730-1740


Domestic Furnishing

Industry and Manufacturing

CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection

ID NUMBER: Coffeepot and cover 1983.0565.17ab; Waste bowl 1983.0565.18; Sugar bowl and cover 1983.0565.19ab; Milk jug 1983.0565.20ab; Oval dish 1983.0565.21; Two tea bowls and saucers 1983.0565.22Aab,Bab

COLLECTOR/ DONOR: 267ab;269;271ab;137ab;136;138Aab,Bab


(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)

MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue.

PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, 1942/1943.

This milk pot from a coffee service is from the Smithsonian’s Hans Syz Collection of Meissen Porcelain. Dr. Syz (1894-1991) began his collection in the early years of World War II, when he purchased eighteenth-century Meissen table wares from the Art Exchange run by the New York dealer Adolf Beckhardt (1889-1962). Dr. Syz, a Swiss immigrant to the United States, collected Meissen porcelain while engaged in a professional career in psychiatry and the research of human behavior. He believed that cultural artifacts have an important role to play in enhancing our awareness and understanding of human creativity and its communication among peoples. His collection grew to represent this conviction.

The invention of Meissen porcelain, declared over three hundred years ago early in 1709, was a collective achievement that represents an early modern precursor to industrial chemistry and materials science. The porcelains we see in our museum collections, made in the small town of Meissen in the German States, were the result of an intense period of empirical research. Generally associated with artistic achievement of a high order, Meissen porcelain was also a technological achievement in the development of inorganic, non-metallic materials.

Painted on this coffee service in underglaze blue and onglaze purple and gold is the so-called “little table” pattern (Tischchenmuster), a Meissen adaptation of Far Eastern styles. There are many examples of this pattern and some of the finest have a wider range of colors to include flowers and foliage in red, yellow and green. Typically the pattern has an abundance of flowers rising from behind a small table that stands before a stylized garden fence, and the Japanese producers of porcelain in Arita developed designs of this kind for the European market where the symmetry of the pattern that grows to fill the space available appealed to European taste. Meissen designers developed the pattern further from prototypes in the Dresden collection with characteristics of both Imari and Kakiemon styles. Meissen’s “little table” pattern was popular, but not in use on services for the Saxon and Polish royal household; it appears only on tea and coffee services produced at the Meissen Manufactory very likely for consumers from the increasingly affluent entrepreneurial class in the German States, especially in cities like Leipzig and Berlin.

For more examples of the little table pattern see Pietsch, U., 2010, Passion for Meissen: The Said and Roswitha Marouf Collection, pp. 338-342; Weber, J., 2013, Meissener Porzellane mit Dekoren nach ostasiatischen Vorbildern: Stiftung Ernst Schneider in Schloss Lustheim, Band II, S. 95-103; Pietsch, U., 2011, Early Meissen Porcelain: the Wark Collectionfrom the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, pp. 312-319;

Jefferson Miller II, J., Rückert, R., Syz, H., 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmaler, pp. 166-167.

Date Made: ca 1730-17401730-1740

Maker: Meissen Manufactory

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Germany: Saxony, Meissen

Subject: Manufacturing


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass, The Hans C. Syz Collection, Meissen Porcelain: The Hans Syz Collection, Art, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1983.0565.20abCatalog Number: 1983.0565.20abAccession Number: 1983.0565Collector/Donor Number: 137ab

Object Name: pitcher, cream

Physical Description: blue underglaze (overall color)hard-paste porcelain (overall material)underglaze blue, purple enamel, and gold (overall color)Measurements: overall: 4 3/8 in; 11.1125 cmoverall: 4 1/4 in x 3 7/8 in x 3 1/8 in; 10.795 cm x 9.8425 cm x 7.9375 cm


Record Id: nmah_1415624

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