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Pair of Meissen Ornithological Plates

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Dates Circa 1755
Medium Porcelain
Origin Germany
Description A rare pair of ornithological Meissen plates, from a service reputedly made for Frederick the Great. One is painted with a European Green Woodpecker and the other with a Yellow Flycatcher in landscape settings with flying insects and within a continuous foliate and floral garland border.

Both plates with blue crossed swords and impressed 36.

The birds appear to have been inspired by a volume of Eleazar Albin’s Natural History of Birds (acquired by Meissen in 1745).

The plates are thought to have once formed part of a service made for Frederick the Great. In the 1930’s, a large portion of a service of identical design was given by the German Government to Randolph Hearst (a newspaper magnate), and this subsequently passed into the Paula de Koenigsberg Collection, Buenos Aires. The catalogue ascribes the Frederick the Great provenance to these pieces, although the origin of this information appears to be unclear, and the attribution cannot be confirmed. The portion of the service owned by Paula de Koenigsberg was exhibited in Buenos Aires in 1947 at the exhibition “de Arte Gotico” at the Museo Municipal de Arte Hispano Americano, No. 140, and was later sold at Christie’s on 28th November 1977.

The service occupies an intriguing position between two other famous Meissen services: the Northumberland Service, Circa 1747 (in the possession of the Dukes of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle), and the “Japanische Service”, which Frederick the Great ordered in 1762, also painted with studies of birds and animals.

24cm Dia.
Condition Very minor rubbing.