Magnificent Meissen: A Serpent-Handled Vase from the Famed European Workshop

A 19th Century Meissen White Ground Vase with Gold Highlights and Serpent Handles Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

A 19th Century Meissen White Ground Vase with Gold Highlights and Serpent Handles Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

The Meissen porcelain factory is one of the most famous porcelain manufacturers in Europe: Meissen was founded in 1710 at Albrechtsburg castle in the town of Meissen at the instruction of Augustus the Strong, Elector Prince of Saxony and King of Poland.

Meissen Augustus.jpg

Sculpture of Augustus the Strong attributed to Johann Joachim Kretzschmar of the Meissen Manufactory Metropolitan Museum of Art

He established the factory after the discovery of hard-paste porcelain in the early 18th century, a material that had eluded European craftsmen for centuries.  From the beginning, the factory produced a wide variety of different products, including dishes, bowles, and vases.  These pieces were decorated with different glazes and painted designs of magnificent quality and detail.

Meissen Vase.jpg

A Meissen Vase decorated by Adam Friedrich von Löwenfinck Metropolitan Museum of Art

Augustus was the first European monarch to produce ‘true’ (meaning hard paste) porcelain and was one of the greatest collectors of Meissen during his lifetime to join his impressive collection of Asian porcelain.  One of Augustus’ most ambitious projects was his porcelain menagerie destined for his Japanese Palace in Dresden.  Meissen produced extraordinary life-size animals for the palace under the direction of Johann Jakob Kirchner and Johann Joachim Kändler, one of Meissen’s most famous designers.

A 19th Century Meissen White Ground Vase with Gold Highlights and Serpent Handles Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

A 19th Century Meissen White Ground Vase with Gold Highlights and Serpent Handles Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

This particular Meissen vase with its white ground and serpent handles is known as a ‘Schlangenvase,’ or snake vase.  It dates to the late 19th century as features an elegant neo-classical baluster form with gilt gadrooned rim and the iconic coiled serpent handles that terminate with acanthus leaves above a band of Vitruvian scrolls.

screen shot 2019-01-08 at 12.32.55

A 19th Century Meissen White Ground Vase with Gold Highlights and Serpent Handles Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

The vase has now been mounted as a lamp with a hand-gilded turned base: the perfect piece to add a bit of European old world glamour to any interior.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s