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Cane handle

Cane handle

  • Date:

    ca. 1760 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain, press-moulded

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by J. A. Tulk

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 2, The Wolfson Gallery, case CA2

The Doccia factory was founded in 1737 by a nobleman who involved himself closely in the technical side of making porcelain; the Marchese Carlo Ginori (1702-1757). Under Ginori, the factory undertook some remarkable experiments in porcelain production, including ambitious large figure sculptures, some of the earliest attempts at transfer-printing in underglaze cobalt blue, and double-walled pierced cups inspired by Chinese Dehua brush pots. They also made large quantities of useful items, such as tea and coffee wares, cane handles, snuff boxes and needle cases.

Early Doccia porcelain was strongly influenced by the earlier manufactories of du Paquier in Vienna and Vezzi in Venice. The du Paquier factory had been set up by workmen who had absconded from the great Meissen porcelain factory in 1718 and Meissen remained the overiding influence at both factories. Giovanni Vezzi founded his manufactory in 1720, however it closed only seven years later. During its brief life, its products had been strongly influenced by the the du Paquier works and skilled workers are known to have come from there to work in Venice. By the late 1730s Ginori was able to take advantage of the financial troubles of the du Paquier factory to attract workers to come to Florence. He also imported clay from Vienna, or used the clays from the Venice region, where he could source enamel colours and gold leaf too. It is not surprising therefore that there are some strong links between the three factories. It was a great coup for Ginori when the skilled porcelain painter Carl Wendelin Anreiter von Ziernfeld left Vienna to come to work for him, accompanied by the potter Giorgio delle Torri. In terms of the majority of its early sculptural models Doccia was unique among European factories in turning away from Meissen's influence and drawing inspiration from its local Florentine tradition of baroque sculpture. This tradition can be seen even here in this small cane handle.

Physical description

White porcelain cane handle, moulded on one side with a grotesque bearded mask and on the other with the head of a mastiff.


ca. 1760 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Porcelain, press-moulded


Height: 68 mm, Width: 30 mm, Depth: 54 mm

Historical context note

Andreina d'Agliano in her essay Sculpture at Doccia (see Baroque Luxury Porcelain below, pp. 137-147) highlights the original nature of much of the classical sculptural work of the Doccia factory which remained distinct from the influence of Meissen and drew its inspiration rather from local Florentine baroque sculpture. The majority of the three-dimensional work was left white as it copied ancient statues in Roman and Florentine galleries.

Descriptive line

White porcelain cane handle, moulded on one side with a grotesque bearded mask and on the other with the head of a mastiff, Europe, possibly Italy, unknown factory, ca. 1760

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Kräftner, J. Baroque Luxury Porcelain: The Manufacturers of Du Paquier in Vienna and of Carlo Ginori in Florence, Liechtenstein Museum, 2005, cat. no. 198, p.352 for a different type of cane handle made by Doccia at around the same time, decorated with figure panels in Meissen style. Andreina d'Agliano notes: 'Cane handles were a popular product of the Doccia manufactory, and, along with snuff boxes and needle cases were produced in great numbers.' For grotesque masks in low relief, used as a decorative motif picked out in colours on knife handles, see cat. no. 149, pp. 312-313.



Subjects depicted

Dog; Mask


Europeana Fashion Project


Ceramics Collection

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