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Etui

Etui

  • Place of origin:

    Höchst, Germany (possibly, made)
    Meissen, Germany (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1760 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Höchst porcelain factory (possibly, manufacturer)
    Meissen porcelain factory (possibly, manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hard-paste porcelain painted in enamels, with silver-gilt mounts

  • Museum number:

    557-1853

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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Etuis are container for small tools that could be carried conveniently in a pocket or bag. They could be made in many different materials: porcelain, as here, enamelled copper, hardstones and precious metals. This example has no interior fittings or tools, but rare complete etuis may contain a penknife, a thimble, a bodkin for threading ribbon through lace, a combined nail-file and tweezers, a combined toothpick and earscoop and perhaps even a hinged pair of ivory memorandum leaves (these could be written on, using a pencil). Etuis were not just attractive ornaments for wealthy ladies; their contents were useful too, and not unlike today's manicure sets, sewing kits and Swiss army knives.

As their use was primarily functional, the shape of etuis was dictated to some degree by the tools they were to contain. However, porcelain factories could be very inventive in designing etuis of different shapes: small figures, vegetables, flower posies, columns and many other shapes are known. This particular example of quiver shape was probably made by the Höchst factory, which favoured puce monochrome decoration, although this shape was also made at Meissen. Its tapering, undulating form would have been easy to hold and is also typical of the fashionable Rococo style of the period. This is reiterated in its decoration of scroll-edged panels composed of plant fronds and shell-like forms; the assymetry of these cartouches and the miniature scenes in the style of the French painter Watteau showing amorous couples can be linked directly to contemporary French Rococo models.

It is not surprising that there are many similarities between the porcelain made at Höchst and Meissen as many Höchst employees came from the great Meissen factory. The Höchst factory was founded in 1746, making it the third in the German Reich, following on from Meissen in 1710 and Vienna in 1718. It was established by a successful merchant Johann Christoph Göltz and his son-in-law Felician Clarus with the help of a talented porcelain painter Adam Friedrich von Löwenfinck. Von Löwenfinck had been trained at Meissen and escaped from the city with difficulty (we are told on a stolen horse), as the workers were closely guarded in order to prevent industrial espionage. Porcelain was so fashionable and desirable at the time that the Meissen factory was fiercely protective of the secrets of porcelain manufacture that had proved so prestigious and lucrative for its owner, the Elector of Saxony. It was only when the chemist Johann Jacob Ringler (another escapee from Meissen) arrived at the factory in 1750, however, that porcelain started to be made at Höchst. Prior to that date only tin-glazed earthenware was produced.

Physical description

Etui of porcelain, roughly finger-shape, ogivally moulded. Upper third hinged as cover with silver-gilt mounts. Painted in crimson-purple with rocaille cartouches enclosing gallant and 'Watteau' figures in park landscapes.

Place of Origin

Höchst, Germany (possibly, made)
Meissen, Germany (possibly, made)

Date

ca. 1760 (made)

Artist/maker

Höchst porcelain factory (possibly, manufacturer)
Meissen porcelain factory (possibly, manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Hard-paste porcelain painted in enamels, with silver-gilt mounts

Dimensions

Length: 10.5 cm

Object history note

From Bandinel Collection.

Descriptive line

Etui, hard-paste porcelain painted in enamels, with silver-gilt mounts, possibly Höchst porcelain factory, possibly Meissen, Germany, ca. 1750-60

Production Note

Attributed to Höchst ca. 1750-1760 in manuscript catalogue of about 1970 compiled by William Hutton of the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio. For another of this shape attributed to Meissen and dated ca. 1760, see Ulrich Pietsch, Early Meissen Porcelain from the Wark Collection (2011), cat. 594.

Materials

Hard paste porcelain; Silver gilt

Techniques

Painted; Mounted

Subjects depicted

Figures; Landscapes; Cartouches

Categories

Porcelain; Ceramics

Collection code

CER

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Qr_O333348
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