The shape with its angular handles is an early form probably designed by Johann Jakob Irminger, the Dresden court silversmith, who was employed at Meissen since 1710 to create new designs (So die inventions und neuen Desseins besorget). The deeply cut leaves and smokiness of the glaze where it pools also suggests an early date.
The decoration is by the Dresden goldsmith Georg Funcke who is listed as a paid employee working with Johann Friedrich Böttger in 1710 but from 13 May 1713 is recorded as a porcelain decorator in gold, silver and muffle colours based in Dresden.
Rainer Rückert (1990, pp. 146-148) published documents from the Meissen archives which tell us that Funcke complained that Böttger paid very badly and that, for several years, the firing of the decoration took place in the in the laboratory on the Venusbastei on the Brühlsche Terrasse on the Elbe in the centre of Dresden, where the first successful experiments in the manufacture of porcelain had taken place in 1708-09.
In its first decade Meissen outsourced almost all is enamelling and gilding to Georg Funcke until the arrival of Johann Gregorius Höroldt from Vienna in April 1720. Bills survive showing that Funcke continued to gild for Meissen up until 1726.
Another beaker from the same service, in the the Malcolm Gutter collection (Santangelo 2017, p. 79 no. 19) is illustrated alongside a teabowl and saucer (Gutter catalogue no. 34) which combines the same distinctive decoration of gilt birds with iron-red outlines and blue and red enamels of a type associated with Funcke. This confirms that this gilt and iron red decoration is from the Funcke workshop. A further beaker of this service is in the Ernst Schneider Collection, Schloss Lustheim.
Claus Boltz has established when the different enamel colours were introduced by Funcke from invoices presented to Meissen; Boltz maintains that red was one of the last colours introduced Funcke in 1718 and if that is the case then the decoration of our beaker must date from around then.
The richly burnished gilt interior and the use of gilding inside and around the footrim would have been costly features suggesting a service of exceptional richness.
Dr. Siegfried Ducret, from whose collection it comes, was one of the greatest scholars of his generation and co-founder of the Gesellschaft der Keramikfreunde der Schweiz and author of numerous standard works on ceramics.
Minute areas of wear to edge of gilding
Dr. Siegfried Ducret (1901-1972)
Claus Boltz, ‘Steinzug und Porzellan der Böttgerperiode: Die Inventare und die Ostermesse des Jahres 1719’, Keramos, no. 167/168 (April 2000), pp. 3-156
Rainer Rückert, Biographische Daten der Meissener Manufakturisten des 18. Jahrhunderts, Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, 1990, pp. 146-148
Maria Santangelo, A Princely Pursuit, The Malcolm D. Gutter Collection of Early Meissen Porcelain, (Hirmer Publishers 2017), p. 79, cat. no. 19
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