from the Commedia dell’arte
Modelling attributed to Johann Christoph Ludwig von Lücke
Circa 1750-53
21.5 and 20.3 cm high
Wheel marks in iron-red to sides of bases
Both with paper labels for Emma Budge collection
Inventory marks 38/36 and 38/37

Decorated in matching black cloaks, red shirts and breaches and ermine-lined hats, these two figures make perfect companions. The amusing conceit is that Pantaloone is in fact a girl, Isabella’s maid, disguised as Pantalone. They are from the larger-scale series of Commedia dell’arte figures that Höchst produced.

Horst Reber suggests that the Höchst Italian Comedy figures of this series were influenced by the statues that stood in the garden of the Schönborn Palais in Vienna through engravings of 1727 by Salomon Kleiner. It is further suggested that this larger series may have been commissioned by Johann Friedrich Carl von Ostein, the Elector and Prince Bishop of Mainz and the proprietor of the Höchst factory. Von Ostein, would have known these works, as he was the nephew of Friedrich Karl von Schönborn, for whom the palace was built and Lücke could also have been familiar with the sculptures from his time in Vienna. The image of Pantaloon seems to be derived from an engraving of ‘Pantalon’, published by Johann Jacob Wolrab, Nuremberg, circa 1720.

The attribution to Johann Christoph Ludwig von Lücke is based on similarly sparse evidence, however the case is quite compelling. They bear a resemblance in attitude and also with regards to their bases, to a pair of ivory Commedia figures by Lücke which he made while working in Dresden in 1729-30. Although he does not appear in the workers records, Lücke is also known to have worked very briefly at the Höchst factory in the early 1750s, on the evidence of a figure signed ‘v. Luck’. It is not exactly clear when this occurred as he travelled extensively during this period moving from Hamburg to Dresden in 1750 and was then appointed ‘First Model Master’ for Vienna in the same year. He then worked in Copenhagen from 1752-56 but is known to have been in Flensburg in 1754 and Schleswig in 1755.

Ivory figures by Johann Christoph Ludwig von Lücke, 1729-30, Grünes Gewölbe, Dresden

These figures are from the illustrious Emma Budge collection, which was sold at auction by Hans W. Lange, Berlin, 27-29 September 1937 and acquired by the City of Mainz at auction. This auction is considered to be a forced sale, and this pair of figures was restituted to the heirs of Emma Budge in 2013, then sold at auction by Bonhams in June 2014.

Pantalon and Pantaloon along with six other figures from the series as published in the sale catalogue of the Emma Budge collection

A similarly decorated pair of the same models were in the Otto Blohm Collection (Schmidt 1953, pl. 43) and subsequently entered the Kiyi and Edward Pfleuger collection (Morley-Fletcher 1993, Vol.1, pp. 114, 115). They are now in the MFA Boston.

Minor losses and old touching in to leaves and branches on bases.

The Emma Budge Collection, Hamburg, sold by Hans W. Lange, Berlin, 27-29 September 1937, lots 849 and 850
Acquired in the above auction by the city of Mainz
Restituted to the heirs of Emma Budge in 2013
Bonhams London, Fine European Ceramics sale, 18 June 2014, lot 157
Robert Compton Jones Collection

Mainz, Landesmuseum, 1937-2013, inv. nos. 38/36 & 37
Mainz, Landesmuseum, ‘Mittelrheinische Kunstwerke aus sechs Jahrhunderten’, 1954
Berlin, Charlottenburg Palace, ‘Commedia dell’Arte Fest der Komödianten’, 14 July-14 October 2001 (Pantaloone)

Mainzer Zeitschrift (1939), p. 103, pl. X,1 (unchecked)

Mittelrheinische Kunstwerke aus sechs Jahrhunderte, exhibition catalogue, 1954, no. 35, ill. 24 (unchecked)

Sale Catalogue,‘Die Sammlung frau Emma Budge, Hamburg’, Hans W. Lange, Berlin, 27-29 September 1937, lots 849 & 850

Esser 1962
K.H. Esser, Höchster Fayencen und Porzellane (1962), ill. 10; (unchecked)

Esser  & Reber 1964
K.H Esser and H. Reber, Höchster Fayencen und Porzellane (1964), p. 17, no. 18

Reber 2001
Reber, Horst, Die Commedia dell’arte an der Höchster Porzellanmanufaktur, Commedia dell’Arte: Fest der Komödianten, (ed. Jansen 2001), pp. 138-144, p. 150


Schmidt 1953
Schmidt, Robert, Early European porcelain as collected by Otto Blohm, (F. Bruckmann Verlag Munchen, 1953)

Morley-Fletcher 1993
Hugo Morley-Fletcher, Early European Porcelain and faience as collected by Kiyi and Edward Pfleuger, (London 1993)

Price: £45,000