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.
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.
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.
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.
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.