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Möllendorf service

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Meissen (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1761 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Klipfel, Karl Jacob Christian (Designer)
    Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hard-paste porcelain with relief decoration, painted in enamels and gilt

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the Captain H. B. Murray Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 139, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 23, shelf 1

This piece is from a dinner service made at the Meissen porcelain factory in Saxony, Germany, for Frederick the Great of Prussia around 1761. Frederick the Great had visited Meissen several times, placed orders with the factory, received gifts of Meissen porcelain from Augustus III, the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, and had plans to establish his own rival factory at Berlin before his Prussian forces occupied Saxony for the second time in 1756. Frederick ordered several table services from Meissen during the Prussian occupation of Saxony in the early 1760s. These were intended for his personal use, and he directed and oversaw their design. Artistically this service of 1761, now known as the Möllendorf Service, is the most important.

Many of the tableware shapes and the low relief moulded decoration of the Möllendorf Service were repeated from an earlier service of 1760, which was decorated at Frederick’s order with the same floral cartouches enclosing musical instruments and emblems of war. The handles on the tureen covers of both services were modelled either as Minerva, symbolizing the intelligent conduct of war and wise governance in peacetime, or as nymphs with flowers, fruit, corn or pitchers of wine. This earlier service was in turn inspired by another one, made for Count Bruhl, Prime Minister of Saxony, in 1742. Frederick stipulated in 1761 that his new service should be painted in the combination of the special red enamel and gold reserved at Meissen ‘for the Saxon ruler.’ The design and decoration were therefore in part taken from Saxon court services made for his subdued adversaries, and were politically charged.

The service was begun in 1761, and originally comprised 697 pieces, including 144 dinner plates and 48 soup plates. Dessert plates and possibly also the multi-part plat de ménage (centrepiece with lemon baskets and cruets) were added in 1763. In 1781 Frederick gave the service to General Wichard von Möllendorf, and as a consequence it is now generally known as the Möllendorf Service.

Physical description

Spoon with hard-paste porcelain handle, silver shaft and bowl. Decorated on the handle with panels containing musical instruments and flowers in low relief within gilt rococo borders, the interspaces filled with scale pattern in orange and gold; in the middle, on each side, a spray of flowers.

Place of Origin

Meissen (made)


ca. 1761 (made)


Klipfel, Karl Jacob Christian (Designer)
Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Hard-paste porcelain with relief decoration, painted in enamels and gilt

Marks and inscriptions

Berlin hallmark, standing bear and 'F'
Stamped on silver

Maker's mark, stamped on silver

'FW' in script
Probably owner's mark


Length: 210 mm

Object history note

Part of a dinner service (Möllendorf service), C.238 to 256-1921.

Descriptive line

Silver spoon with porcelain handle, part of a dinner service (the Möllendorf service), handle of hard-paste porcelain with relief decoration and painted in enamels and gilt, made by the Meissen porcelain factory, Germany, ca. 1761


Hard paste porcelain


Painted; Gilt; Relief

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Musical instruments


Ceramics; Porcelain; Eating; Tableware & cutlery


Ceramics Collection

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