Meissen water pitcher and basin

Meissen water pitcher and basin

Code: MB678


Circa 1740-45

Hard-paste porcelain

Height of pitcher: 7 2/3 in. (19.5 cm.)

Length of basin: 12 1/5 in. (31 cm.)

Marks: crossed swords in underglaze blue and for Johann David Kretschmar

The Imari style decoration of this pitcher and basin was faithfully copied from a Japanese design. The pattern was most often applied to plates, as is seen on an example in the British Museum, London and a pair with Michele Beiny, Inc. A Japanese original is also in the British Museum, illustrated in John Ayers, et. al, Porcelain for Palaces: The Fashion for Japan in Europe 1650-1670, p. 224, no. 237. According to Julia Weber, items produced by Meissen with this pattern may be part of an unidentified table service, however, few other models with this decoration are known. A sauceboat is at Sèvres, Cité de la céramique, and a butter dish was sold at Lempertz, Cologne, 12 June 1989, lot 83, from the Jahn Collection. Only one pitcher and basin has been identified.  

Johann David Kretschmar, the likely decorator of the present set, was born in Wurzen, Germany in 1697. He was active as a painter at Meissen from 1726 to 1752, where he specialized in underglaze blue decoration and in Imari and Chinese designs copied from or inspired by East Asian prototypes. He sometimes signed his pieces with the letter K in underglaze blue.