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  • Place of origin:

    Nymphenburg (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1765 (decorated)
    ca. 1759-1760 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bustelli, Franz Anton (modellers)
    Nymphenburg porcelain factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hard-paste porcelain, enamelled and gilded

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with Art Fund support

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 143, The Timothy Sainsbury Gallery, case 3, shelf 3

Franz Anton Bustelli's models for the Nymphenburg porcelain factory are often regarded as some of the most delightful porcelain figures ever made. Although only working at the factory for eight and a half years, Bustelli designed many different models, among them a group of sixteen Italian comedy figures, of which Octavio is one. The group derives from well-known popular print sources, but just as Kaendler's style is recognisable in the figures he made at Meissen using the same prints, those made at Nymphenburg are unmistakably by the hand of Bustelli. They are all slightly elongated, graceful, elegantly dressed and modelled with an almost lifelike sense of movement.. They are also extremely well-observed and relate to companion figures by virtue of their stance, expression and gestures.

In the Italian 'Commedia dell'arte' Octavio is the handsome lover of Isabella, however the subtle modelling also suggests he is a comically lovesick and foppish kind of young man. His dress and hairstyle (or wig) are slightly out-of-date which was the norm for theatrical costume of the day, but may also be intended to suggest he is an impoverished nobleman. His attention has been caught by the sight of his paramour Isabella and we see him turning to feast his eyes on her and blow her a kiss.

Physical description

Figure of a man in hard-paste porcelain, Octavio, modelled dressed in a long pink jacket, matching pink breeches and black shoes, all with gilded details, his jacket open to reveal his waistcoat decorated with a brownish purple lustre, imitating Böttger lustre, within lacy gilded borders, standing in a casual pose with his legs crossed, turning to look admiringly over his right shoulder and blow a kiss towards his beloved, set on a white, flat, scroll-edged base.

Place of Origin

Nymphenburg (made)


ca. 1765 (decorated)
ca. 1759-1760 (made)


Bustelli, Franz Anton (modellers)
Nymphenburg porcelain factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Hard-paste porcelain, enamelled and gilded

Marks and inscriptions

impressed shield of Bavaria mark edged with a gilded line
placed high on the scrolling support, the gilded outline is unusual

impressed 'o' or '0'
According to Alfred Ziffer, denotes the type of paste used for this figure

inscribed scrolling capital 'S'
on unglazed base, appears to be contemporary, of unknown significance

Descriptive line

Figure of Octavio, a lovesick comic character from the Italian theatre, by Franz Anton Bustelli, made in hard-paste porcelain at the Nymphenburg porcelain factory in Nymphenburg, Bavaria, ca. 1765.

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

Chilton, Meredith. Harlequin Unmasked, The Commedia dell'Arte and Porcelain Sculpture with an essay by Domenico Pietropaolo. New Haven and London: George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art and Yale University Press, 2001. 89 p., no.136. ISBN 0300090099
Jansen, Reinhard, ed. Commedia Dell'Arte, Fest der Komödianten, Keramische Kostbarkeiten aus den Museen der Welt with essays by Ulrich Pietsch, Meredith Chilton, Reinhard Jansen, Samuel Wittwer etc. Catalogue of the exhibition held at Schloss Charlottenburg and the Bröhan Museum, 2001, together with separate summary in English and booklet of source prints. Stuttgart: Arnoldsche, 2001, 193 p., no. 198
Ziffer, Alfred. Nymphenburger Porezellan. Stuttgart: Arnoldsche, 1997. 64 p., no. 99. Catalogue of the Bäuml Collection exhibited at the Nymphenburg Palace, Munich
Eikelmann, Renate (ed). Bustelli, Nymphenburger Porzellanfiguren des Rokoko Includes essays by Katharina Hantschmann, Alfred Ziffer, Utta Bach, Peter Volk etc. Catalogue of exhibition held at the Bayerishces Nationalmuseum, Munich, November 2004- March 2005. See nos. 137, 138 and no. 136 for a white version of this figure all in the museum's collection.


Hard paste porcelain


Painted; Gilding; Moulded

Subjects depicted

Commedia dell'arte; Romantic love; Man


Porcelain; Ceramics


Ceramics Collection

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