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Tea canister and cover

Tea canister and cover

  • Place of origin:

    Fürstenberg (possibly, made)
    Thuringia (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1760 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fürstenberg Porcelain (maker)
    Gotha porcelain factory (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hard-paste porcelain painted in purple enamel and gilded

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by J.A. Tulk

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 3, case CA3 []

In the 1700s, tea was not as popular in Europe as it was in England so tea canisters are relatively less common in European than in English porcelain. In the first half of the 18th century, as tea was expensive, tea canisters were often made of silver and kept in special cases made of leather, shagreen or wood, which could be locked. The most popular type of porcelain tea canister was based on the silver examples made in Augsburg and was of straight-sided, shouldered, rectangular shape. The Meissen factory produced this style of tea canister from about 1740 and it was widely copied throughout Europe and even in China for wares exported to Europe, throughout the 18th century. This Fürstenberg tea canister however, with its quirky asymmetrical profile and overall low-relief moulded decoration of leafy scrolls and frilly-edged shapes, is an unusual example of a tea canister in the rococo style. The modeller has rejected the sober Meissen tradition in favour of a lighter, more fashionable French style, although the puce flower sprays are very much in the Meissen mode.

Fürstenberg lies in the centre and slightly to the north of modern-day Germany in the Harz mountains. A pottery had been established there in 1744 by the ruler, Duke Charles I of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel with the aim of stimulating industry in his domain. The Duke was a great patron of the arts and sciences and many writers, philosophers and artists were attracted to his court at Braunschweig (Brunswick). Porcelain production in the duchy was only made possible however, when the 'arcana' or secret recipe for porcelain, developed over many years at Meissen, slowly leaked out. In 1719 the Vienna factory of Du Paquier was set up by workers who absconded from Meissen. Many years later, in 1750 a potter at Vienna called J.J. Ringler defected and travelled around Europe setting up factories wherever he could find patrons. The first factory to be established by him was at Höchst in 1750. The manager there, Johann Benckgraff, in turn defected to Fürstenberg, together with his son-in-law Johann Zeschinger, a painter, and Simon Feilner, a modeller. Porcelain is still made at Fürstenberg today.

Physical description

Tea canister and cover of hard-paste porcelain painted in purple enamel and gold.

Place of Origin

Fürstenberg (possibly, made)
Thuringia (possibly, made)


ca. 1760 (made)


Fürstenberg Porcelain (maker)
Gotha porcelain factory (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Hard-paste porcelain painted in purple enamel and gilded


Height: 13.3 cm, Width: 95 mm, Depth: 60 mm

Descriptive line

Tea canister and cover of hard-paste porcelain painted in purple enamel and gold, possibly by Fürstenberg Porcelain or possibly Gotha porcelain factory, possibly Fürstenberg or Thuringia, ca. 1760

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

Wießes Gold aus Fürstenberg, exhibition catalogue, Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Münster and Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig, 1989 for three tea canisters of later date, cat nos 142, 148 and 150. No. 304 is a scent bottle? of very bold rococo asymmetrical shape and shallow relief rococo moulding comparable to this tea canister.


Hard paste porcelain


Painted; Gilded

Subjects depicted

Panels; Bombé; Prunus; Flowers; Scrollwork; Pineapple


Ceramics; Porcelain


Ceramics Collection

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