List Price £180,000
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By KPM, Konigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (German, founded 1763)
These exceptional porcelain vases by the prestigious German maker KPM demonstrate a royal provenance, having once belonged to Frederick II, Grand Duke of Baden.
The large vases in this pair are of identical design and yet individually decorated with minute, perfect detailing. The vases have been expertly crafted in porcelain and sit on square-form, stepped, plinths. The plinths lead to the waisted bases of the vases, which are decorated in a gilt ground with leaf forms and simulated fluting in a superb example of trompe l'œil.
Atop the bases are the ovoid-form bodies of each vase, which are decorated all over in a rich, green ground and each featuring a gilt fluting design around the tapered lower section. Above the gilt fluting motifs, each of the vases is decorated with two large painted panels of different topographical scenes showing important Imperial German monuments and statues. The four painted scenes are each bordered by a painted gilt egg-and-dart frame with scrolling acanthus leaf accents. Between the painted scenes, the vases are each mounted with twin ormolu handles of beaded leaf and bud motifs.
The ovoid body of each vase meets the neck at a slender band of gilt beading, and the waisted necks are coloured with a gilt ground and adorned with a band of decorative scrolling foliage under the stepped, flared rim.
One of the vases is painted to the front with a scene of the cast-bronze equestrian statue of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia between 1740-1786, outside of the Humboldt University situated in the historic Unter den Linden, Berlin. The scene shows admirers and townsfolk strolling about the statue, looking upwards and talking amongst themselves.
The statue was designed in homage to Frederick the Great in 1839 by the sculptor Christian Daniel Rauch (German, 1777-1857) and set in place in Unter den Linden in 1851. After being briefly relocated to the Sansoucci Palace just outside of Berlin during the mid-20th Century, the statue was returned to its intended location where it can now be seen. Incidentally, its creator Rauch designed several vases for KPM porcelain himself.
The reverse of this vase depicts a painted scene of the south-facing garden façade of the Sansoucci palace, which was constructed by Frederick the Great between the years 1745-47. The scene is painted from a perspective that includes the Great Fountain and the view of the sloping, terraced vineyard, above which the palace is just visible. The Great Fountain was initially commissioned in 1748 to shoot jets of water 100 feet into the air. However, this feat of engineering was not fully achieved until almost one hundred years later in 1843. The painting on this vase, of c. 1851, shows the fountain shooting water high into the air.
The second vase depicts a further two scenes. The front is painted with an angled, frontal view of the Baroque style Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin showing the high, central cupola. The palace was built in the late 17th Century at the request of the wife of Frederick I of Prussia, Sophia Charlotte of Hanover (Prussian, modern-day Germany, 1668-1705), and greatly extended and expanded in the 18th Century.
The reverse of the second vase depicts the equestrian statue of Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg (Prussian, modern-day Germany, 1620-1688) outside the Berlin City Palace, which was the Imperial winter residence of the Prussian monarchy and German emperors. The scene depicts the statue and palace from the view of 'Lang Brücke' (Long Bridge) and shows figures strolling through the scene.
Both the statue and the palace, which was destroyed and is currently being rebuilt, were designed and executed by the architect and sculptor Andreas Schlüter (German, 1659-1714) in 1708 and c. 1702 respectively.
The vases, each of which is marked underside with underglaze blue sceptre marks for KPM, were formerly in the collection of Frederick II, Grand Duke of Baden, who was the very last ruler of the Grand Duchy of Baden in Southwest Germany, which existed from 1806-1918.
- In the collection of Frederick II, Grand Duke of Baden, at the Karlsruhe Palace
- Sothebys Baden-Baden auction, Germany, 1996
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