About the dealer
About the object
This is an extremely rare Meissen Johann Friedrich Böttger Hausmalerei teapot and cover of compressed globular form painted in red monochrome with hunting scenes, probably by Ignaz Preissler, depicting three men and hounds in pursuit of a stag. With gilded fluted moulding round the cover rim and foot. The chain is solid gold.
Porcelain dates to circa 1720 and decoration slightly later.
Provenance: CH Fischer
The following an extract from the catalogue of Christie’s Sale 13-15 May 1918. Lot 662, as Du Paquier.
“A Böttger teapot and original cover C.1720; painted in Breslau probably by Ignaz Preissler. The decoration is very slightly later than 1720. The chain is gold.
Provenance C.H. Fischer. Also, see inside lid. It is in excellent condition.”
Johann Friedrich Böttger, an alchemist, discovered porcelain after being held under house arrest in 1700 by order of Augustus the Strong, the elector of Saxony.
Although the 18-year-old Böttger had committed no crime, Augustus had heard that the young man was an alchemist hoping to create gold from base metals. If gold was to be made, Augustus wanted the secret for himself. Böttger was kept a prisoner in Dresden, carrying on his fruitless experiments and despite desperate attempts to escape he was always captured and brought back. This was an impossible predicament and eventually a solution was suggested by a Dresden scientist Ehrenfried Walter von Tschirnhaus. von Tschirnhaus had spent the previous twenty years attempting to discover the secret of true porcelain, (another obsession of Augustus). He had made considerable progress, but not sufficient to produce wares on a reliable basis. Recognizing Böttger’s talent, he suggested that they join forces and concentrate on a realistic quest rather than the alchemist’s hopeless pursuit of gold.
Porcelain had been made in China since the 14th century and it created a sensation when it was brought to Europe. No-one had ever seen such white semi-translucent pottery. People paid high prices for it and, despite many trials; the secret of its manufacture was still unknown at the beginning of the 18th century.
Johann Friedrich Böttger is generally acknowledged as the inventor of European porcelain and although more recent sources ascribe this to Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus, Böttger is still credited with the Meissen porcelain manufacturing process. In 1705, Böttger, still under guard, was moved to Meissen to work with Tschirnhaus. The work was interrupted for a year when the Swedes occupied Saxony in 1706 and Böttger was moved to a distant fortress for safe keeping. In 1707, Böttger was returned to Dresden, where a laboratory was established for him in another fortress. Tschirnhaus died on October 11th 1708 from dysentery. In 1708, a practical formula was produced and production began in the Dresden laboratories in 1709.
The first pieces went on sale at the Leipzig Easter Fair in 1710.
Augustus finished building a royal porcelain factory in Meissen in June the same year and the operation was transferred there. The first wares were red and are now known as Böttger stoneware. By 1713 Meissen was producing delicate white porcelain and coloured glazes followed within the next few years. Böttger inspired Augustus with his vision of pieces designed by leading artists that were better than even the Chinese, his achievement in this field gave Saxony its greatest single distinction and yet he directed the Meissen factory from confinement in Dresden. He had the luxury of a house in the fortress, but there were guards on the door. Augustus, his tyrannical employer, remained resentful that he had been fobbed off with porcelain rather than gold, but finally released Böttger in 1714.
In 1719, Johann Friedrich Böttger, still in his early thirties, became extremely ill and died.
While production of Meissen porcelain started successfully, Augustus never made money from the factory as he bought most of the best pieces to add to his own collection. Inevitably, Böttger’s great secret of porcelain manufacture escaped and other European factories started to manufacture this magical material, but Meissen porcelain was the first and is still the best quality and most famous.
Ignaz Preissler (Preißler), was born in the Bohemian Bedřichov in the Adler Mountains, where his father Daniel Preißler (1636 – 1733) was employed as a glass and porcelain painter at the glassworks founded by Hans Friedrich. His godmother was Anna Maria Peterhansel, wife of Adam Paul Peterhansel, who had been a member of the Friedrichswalder glassworks since 1652. In 1680, the Preißler family moved to the nearby Brasov, where Daniel Preißler, entered the service of Franz Karl Liebsteinsky von Kolowrat, as his glass and porcelain painter in his own workshop.
Ignaz Preissler learned from his father the Schwarzlot or black and white painting on glass and porcelain. It is believed that he spent part of his education in Nuremberg. After years of apprenticeship and wandering, he went to Breslau between 1715 - 1720, where he lived and worked. Here he worked among others for Dr. Ernst Benjamin von Löwenstädt. Around 1729 he entered the services of Kolowrats and worked, like his father, to the end of life for their glassworks in the Adler Mountains. In addition, he probably also occasionally performed work for other clients.
Ignaz Preissler is one of the best known independent decorators of porcelain, pottery and glass between 1720-30. Preissler's painting on glass jars, bottles, cups and jugs as well as tableware shows a variety of motifs. Coat-of-Arms, in connection with floral ornaments were popular. Allegorical subjects were common too. In addition, Preissler showed a preference for the art of East Asia, which had covered all of Europe in the first half of the 18th century. Chinese figures between foliage and Asian ornaments and bird motifs often appear on more than 200 objects he painted on behalf of the count. Ignaz Preissler has signed his works, which was rarely the case in the Baroque period.
Preissler glass can be found in various museums such as the Passau Glass Museum, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the Cleveland Museum of Art. In the Muzeum Narodowe in Kielce is the Altaristenpokal, the Ignaz Preissler 1720 created in Wroclaw. The private collection of Rudolf von Strasser was shown in 2002 at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Very rarely do signed pieces by Preissler appear on auctions.