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Vienna Tray

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Dates 1808
32.50cm high (12.80 inches high)
41.00cm wide (16.14 inches wide)
Medium Porcelain
Origin Austria
Description A Large and important Documentary Vienna tray painted with a scene of General Belsarius receiving arms, after a painting by Jacques-Louis David, 1780, entitled “Bélisaire demandant l'aumône”, exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1781.

Painted by Johann Ferstler. Date mark 808 for 1808, incised turners letter: P for the Georg Ebert (specialising in tête à tête trays). The reverse inscribed with a blue script in French: Bélisaire: Peint par Jean Ferstler; peintre de la manufacture J:R: à Vienne.

The French Novel Bélisaire was written in 1767 by Jean-Francois Marmontel and covered the life of the Byzantine General Belisarius. Belisarius’s life was reduced to a beggar by 'Justinian I' and despite his great services to the Roman Empire, citing this as an example of the ingratitude of those in power towards their faithful servants, it was seen to be an accusation of the French King Louis XV who was considered another such ungrateful monarch.

One of the chapters on religious toleration incurred the censorship of the Sorbonne and the Archbishop of Paris.

The painting “Bélisaire demandant l'aumône”, by David is now in the Palais des Beaux Arts, Lille, France

Literature Literature: Sheila Tabakoff, Le Porzellane di Vienna a Palazzo Pitti,
p. 190, pl. 119, for a tête à tête (c. 1810-13) which is also incised with a P for Ebert. Many of the illustrated tête à tête trays have the initial P incised.

Sturm-Bednarczyk /Jobst: Viennese porcelain of the Neo-Classical period p. 97, no. 87, for a covered cup and saucer painted by Johann Ferstler