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Sugar or confectionery box and cover
  • Sugar or confectionery box and cover
    Nymphenburg porcelain factory
  • Enlarge image

Sugar or confectionery box and cover

  • Place of origin:

    Nymphenburg (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1767-1771 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nymphenburg porcelain factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hard-paste porcelain painted with enamels, moulded in relief and gilded

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 3, case CA2 []

The box is inscribed 'C.H.Z. 1771', for 'Churfürstliche Hof Zöhrgaden 1771', indicating that it was at that date held in the confectionery storeroom of items used in the service of the dessert at the Bavarian Electoral Court. It may have been used for sugar, or perhaps for stewed fruit. A number of other shell boxes of this type survive with the inscription and date 1771, suggesting that they were disposed along the length of dessert table at grand dinners held at the court.

The shape is precisely copied from a Meissen porcelain covered box, modelled by Eberlein in November 1746 and made for Count Brühl's court confectionery (when it was described as 'Confect-Schaale mit Deckel in Gestalt einer Perl-Muschel zur Gräfl. Brühlschen Conditorey gefertiget': information kindly communicated by Dr Alfred Ziffer).

The Nymphenburg manufactory on the outskirts of Munich was founded as an Electoral Porcelain Factory by the Elector Max III Joseph of Bavaria in 1747. Commercial production of porcelain was achieved in 1754 with the help of Joseph Ringler, an 'arcanist' (workman with knowledge of porcelain recipes, firing and manufacturing processes) who had gained what had originally been Meissen's industrial secrets at the Vienna Porcelain Factory. Nymphenburg is best known for the elegantly contorted rococo figures and sculptural pieces created by Franz Anton Bustelli between November 1754, when he was appointed the factory's master modeller, and April 1763, when he died.

Physical description

Confectionery box and cover of hard-paste porcelain painted with enamels, moulded in relief and gilded. In the form of a large shell, and with shell feet and finial, with a gilt band round the edges.

Place of Origin

Nymphenburg (made)


ca. 1767-1771 (made)


Nymphenburg porcelain factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Hard-paste porcelain painted with enamels, moulded in relief and gilded

Marks and inscriptions

'C.H.Z. 1771' ('Churfürstliche Hof Zöhrgaden 1771')
Electoral Court [confectionery] Storeroom 1771


Height: 118 mm, Width: 160 mm, Depth: 118 mm

Object history note

Made for the Bavarian Electoral Court Store-room, Churfürstliche Hof Zöhrgaden.
Formerly in the C.W. Reynolds Collection. Sold Christie's May 31 1871 lot 493. Purchased from Mr E. Francis. A pair of identical boxes with the same date and initials were offered Sotheby's London 9 March 1954. Another was formerly in the collection of Lady Charlotte Schreiber and its purchase was mentioned in her Journal for 16 November 1881.

Historical context note

See Public Access Description

Descriptive line

Box and cover of hard-paste porcelain painted with enamels, moulded in relief and gilded, Nymphenburg porcelain factory, Nymphenburg, ca. 1767-1771, inscription added 1771.

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

V&A Ceramics and Glass Collection Object Information file
Christina H. Nelson with Letitia Roberts. The Warda Stevens Stout Collection, A History of Eighteenth-Century German Porcelain. The Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Hudson Hills Press, Easthampton and New York, 2013. Illustrated in the Nymphenburg section, fig 5, 357p. This item is cited in the text as one of the models created by Bustelli's pupil, Peter Seefried, after his master's death in 1763, (in this case after a Meissen prototype): 'After Bustelli's death, many of his models continued in production. Some were altered slightly by his pupil, Bossierer Peter Seefried, so that they could be marketed as new production....As Alfred Ziffer has pointed out, although the changes were chiefly decorative, the 'new' figures lacked the dynamic spirit of the originals. Seefried produced a few original designs, but his work is almost entirely based on existing Nymphenburg models and a few from other factories (fig. 5).'

Labels and date

Sugar or confectionery box
About 1767–71

Shells were a popular Rococo motif because they are often naturally asymmetrical and feature the scrolling shapes favoured by Rococo designers. Objects shaped as shells were highly fashionable. They satisfied the Rococo modellers’ taste for naturalistic forms and surface pattern.

Germany (Munich)
Made at the Nymphenburg factory
Modelled by Peter Seefried
Porcelain painted in enamels and gilded
Inscribed with the mark of the Bavarian Electoral Court confectionery storeroom


Hard paste porcelain


Painted; Moulded; Gilded

Subjects depicted



Ceramics; Porcelain


Ceramics Collection

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