Decoration attributed to Adam Friedrich von Löwenfinck
16.8 cm. high
B.K mark in blue for Period Knöller, 1728-1744

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[1], 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).

A pair of cold decorated Bayreuth figures of Summer and Winter, Germanisches National Museum.

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[2]. 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.

Metropolitan Museum, signed ‘de Löwenfinken pinxit’

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.

Fulda Faience, 1741-44, Private collection, USA, published by P. Ducret

Peter Ducret also published a Fulda faience vase of 1741-44, signed with Lowenfinck’s initials ‘AFVLF’, with very similar flower painting and insects[3].

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 


Ducret 1983
Peter Ducret, ‘Adam Friedrich von Löwenfinck als Figuren-und Landschaftmaler auf Fayence’, Keramos, no. 100/83 (1983), pp. 122 & 123

Jansen 2001

Reinhard Jansen (ed.), Commedia Dell’ Arte. Fest der Komödianten (Arnoldsche, 2001)

Miller 1994

Miller, Albrecht, Bayreuther Fayencen: Bestandskatalog (Kataloge der Kunstsammlungen / Bayerische Verwaltung der Staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen) (Arcos, Landshut, 1994) 

Pietsch 2014

Ulrich Pietsch, Phantastische Welten: Malerei auf Meissener Porzellan und Deutschen Fayencen von Adam Friedrich von Löwenfinck 1714-1754, (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 2014)

Price: £12,000

[1] Miller 1994 p. 13 nos. 1 & 2

[2] Pietsch 2014, pp. 224 – 291

[3] Ducret 1983, pp. 122-123, figs. 7 to 10