Meissen covered cup and stand

Meissen covered cup and stand

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TITLE: Meissen covered cup and stand
MAKER: Meissen Manufactory
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: ceramic, porcelain (overall material)
MEASUREMENTS: Cup: H. 5" 12.8cm; Stand: L. 6¾" 17.2cm
OBJECT NAME: Covered cup and stand
PLACE MADE: Meissen, Saxony, Germany
Domestic Furnishing
Industry and Manufacturing
CREDIT LINE: Hans C. Syz Collection
ID NUMBER: 1984.1140.10 abc
(DATA SOURCE: National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center)
MARKS: Crossed swords in underglaze blue; incised cross, former’s mark.
PURCHASED FROM: Adolf Beckhardt, The Art Exchange, New York, 1944.
This covered cup and stand 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.
The cup with two handles in the form of twisted vines sits on a lobed, oval-shaped stand. Roses mixed with forget-me-nots, pinks, and narcissi are applied in swags in high relief, and painted in gold on the center of the stand is a spray of flowers. The interiors of the cup and cover are painted and burnished in gold.
Johann Joachim Kaendler’s work report of May/June 1738, and September 1739 records his production of models for a breakfast service for The Electress of Saxony and Queen of Poland, Maria Josepha (1699-1757) consort of Augustus III. This covered cup and stand, however, does not have the camaïeu landscapes painted in purple enamel in the well of the stands that are found on Maria Josepha’s service, examples of which are now in the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin. A cup and stand made in this elaborate style may have been part of a royal gift, and the service for Maria Josepha was one of the first in a series of items modeled by Kaendler that featured applied floral ornaments, which are time-consuming to make and require considerable skill. Flowers at Meissen are sculpted free-hand, but with the aid of cone-shaped plaster stamps for producing naturalistic curved forms.
On the service for Maria Josepha see Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, p. 240-241; Samuel Wittwer, “Liasons Fragile: Exchanges of Gifts Between Saxony and Prussia in the Early Eighteenth Century” in Cassidy-Geiger, M., 2008, Fragile Diplomacy: Meissen Porcelain for European Courts 1710-1763, p.101); on porcelain flower making at Meissen see Alfred Ziffer, “ ‘…skillfully made ready for moulding…’” The Work of Johann Joachim Kaendler in Pietsch, U., Banz, C., 2010, Triumph of the Blue Swords: Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgoisie 1710-1815, p.63.
Hans Syz, J. Jefferson Miller II, Rainer Rückert, 1979, Catalogue of the Hans Syz Collection: Meissen Porcelain and Hausmalerei, pp. 272-273.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1740
Meissen Manufactory
place made
Germany: Saxony, Meissen
Physical Description
hard-paste porcelain (overall material)
white and gold (overall color)
floral swags in high relief (overall style)
cup: 5 in; 12.7 cm
stand: 6 3/4 in; 17.145 cm
overall: 5 1/4 in x 6 3/4 in x 5 1/4 in; 13.335 cm x 17.145 cm x 13.335 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
The Hans C. Syz Collection
Meissen Porcelain: The Hans Syz Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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