Modelled as Harlequin from the Commedia dell’arte, carrying a tray aloft standing on a stepped foot. Harlequin decorated in characteristic chequered outfit with a gilded buckle. The inside of the tray is painted with a spray of varied flowers and insects and bordered with a band of green with a repeated floral motif.
Bayreuth figures are very rare, and we have not been able to find a comparable piece. The stepped foot is a characteristic feature of Bayreuth figures and is found on a pair of dogs, and the figures of Summer and Winter below. Figures are rare in faience as a medium because with its thick opaque glaze, it is harder to achieve definition. A number of Commedia dell’Arte figures in German faience are listed in Commedia Dell’ Arte. Fest der Komödianten by Jansen (282-298). A reasonably close stylistic comparison in glaze and quality is the Braunschweig model of Harlikin (p.287, pp. 286).
The decoration inside of the tray and the floral decoration throughout the figure is characteristic of Adam Friedrich von Löwenfinck who was working at the Bayreuth factory between 1736-37. His works at Bayreuth and Fulda often contain a coloured band and sketchy flower sprays with a distinctive colour palette incorporating heavy black leaves. Very few signed pieces of Löwenfinck are known. Below is a vase in the Metropolitan Museum, with some comparative images of the painting on the tray held by our figure.
With his colourful, imaginative and exuberant decoration, Löwenfinck is one of the most innovative and well-travelled figures in early eighteenth-century ceramics, having worked at Meissen, Höchst, Bayreuth, Fulda and Potsdam.
Peter Ducret also published a Fulda faience vase of 1741-44, signed with Lowenfinck’s initials ‘AFVLF’, with very similar flower painting and insects.
Broken through ankles and restored, a small chip to the glaze of the tray, and some flea bite chips around the edge, one hairline crack about 3cm
Robert G. Vater collection
Peter Ducret, ‘Adam Friedrich von Löwenfinck als Figuren-und Landschaftmaler auf Fayence’, Keramos, no. 100/83 (1983), pp. 122 & 123
Reinhard Jansen (ed.), Commedia Dell’ Arte. Fest der Komödianten (Arnoldsche, 2001)
Miller, Albrecht, Bayreuther Fayencen: Bestandskatalog (Kataloge der Kunstsammlungen / Bayerische Verwaltung der Staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen) (Arcos, Landshut, 1994)
Ulrich Pietsch, Phantastische Welten: Malerei auf Meissener Porzellan und Deutschen Fayencen von Adam Friedrich von Löwenfinck 1714-1754, (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2014)
 Miller 1994 p. 13 nos. 1 & 2
 Pietsch 2014, pp. 224 – 291
 Ducret 1983, pp. 122-123, figs. 7 to 10