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Meissen pair of leopards


Code: MB783

Circa 1745-49

Heights: 5 3/4 in. and 5 1/8 in. (14.5 and 13 cm.)

Marks: crossed swords to rear of bases

Johann Gottlieb Kirchner realized a life-size seated leopard in Meissen porcelain for the Japanese Palace of Augustus the Strong, whereas the smaller models were created by Johann Joachim Kändler with strong naturalism thanks to his study of living specimens in the royal menagerie at Jägerhof. His assistant Peter Reinicke is also known to have modelled a leopard, as listed in his work reports of November 1747: 1 Leopard gefertiget und bouhsirt.

Six leopards are listed in the inventory of Count von Brühl’s Konditorei, taken on October 1, 1753.

Other pairs are in the Ernst Schneider Collection in Schloss Lustheim, illustrated in Rainer Rückert, Meissener Porzellan (1966), no. 1052, where the model is dated 1749; a pair in the Louvre on gilt-bronze mounts (OA 8064-5); a pair in a private collection in London; and a pair sold at Christie’s, London, 1 November 2016, lot 156. There is a single example in the Art Institute of Chicago (1959.482), and a single example sold at Christie’s, London, on 4 July 2004, lot 157. Another single example was in the Guttmann collection, illustrated by Melitta Kunze-Köllensperger, Alexanders Tiere: die Sammlung Axel Guttmann,  p. 70, no.79