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Figure group - The Three Graces
  • The Three Graces
    Jüchtzer, Christian Gotfried, born 1752 - died 1812
  • Enlarge image

The Three Graces

  • Object:

    Figure group

  • Place of origin:

    Meissen (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1785 (made)
    1785 (modelled)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Jüchtzer, Christian Gotfried, born 1752 - died 1812 (modeller)
    Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hard-paste biscuit porcelain

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr C. J. Murray

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 1, case CA17

The group depicts the Three Graces from classical Greek mythology, Aglaea, Euphrosne and Thalia, who represent charm, beauty and joy and who were the companions of Aphrodite, Apollo and Athena. The composition is based on classical sculptures and wall painting of this subject. The specific source was probably a sculpture in the collection of Cardinal Borghese in Rome, which was restored in the early seventeenth century with the addition of flowers in the hands of the outer figures (as here), and which was reproduced in a print of 1680 by N. Sandrart. A drawing showing a similar composition, possibly a preliminary design for the group, survives at the Meissen factory. This is dated 1784 and has been attributed to J.E. Schenau, who ran the Meissen drawing school, and more recently to the modeller of this piece, C.N. Jüchtzer. The figure group was entered into the factory’s model book in December 1784, and in the following year Jüchtzer exhibited a biscuit porcelain example at a Dresden art exhibition. By1789 the factory moulds required repair by Jüchtzer, which probably indicates that the model was a popular one and that the moulds had worn out.

Physical description

Figure group of 'The Three Graces', of hard-paste biscuit porcelain. Three nudes linked by their arms standing by a circular altar or plinth. Rectangular base.

Place of Origin

Meissen (made)


ca. 1785 (made)
1785 (modelled)


Jüchtzer, Christian Gotfried, born 1752 - died 1812 (modeller)
Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Hard-paste biscuit porcelain

Marks and inscriptions

Crossed swords and a star
Factory mark, in blue

Crossed swords and a star and '57'

Incised factory model number


Height: 405 mm, Width: 235 mm base, Width: 375 mm whole, Depth: 205 mm whole

Object history note

Formerly in the collection of Sir C. A. Murray, KCB (acquired while Minister at Dresden ca. 1860-65)

Descriptive line

Figure group of 'The Three Graces', hard-paste biscuit porcelain, modelled by C. G. Jüchtzer, 1784, made by Meissen porcelain factory, Germany, ca. 1785

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

Honey, W. B. Dresden china London: A. & C. Black, 1934, Pl. LXIII, p. 144.
Berling, K. Meissner Porzellan und seine Geschichte Leipzig, 1900, p. 196
Szelegejd, Barbara. The Sophisticated Charm of White Porcelain: The Wilanow Biscuit Collection Warsaw, p. 160-162
Arts Coucil of Great Britain. The Age of Neoclassicism London, 1972, Cat. 1438

Labels and date

The Three Graces
About 1785–90

The Three Graces have been celebrated in literature and art since classical times, most famously in the sculpture by Antonio Canova in the V&A. The daughters of Zeus represent charm, beauty and joy. Various classical sources inspired this composition, but it is most similar to a restored ancient marble group, now in the Louvre.

Germany (Dresden)
Made at the Meissen factory
Modelled by Christian Gottfried Jüchtzer
Biscuit porcelain
Given by Mr C.J. Murray
The Three Graces
Hard paste biscuit porcelain
GERMAN (Meissen, modelled by Christian Gotfried Jüchtzer (1752-1812), possibly after a drawing by Johann Eleazar Schönau (1737-1806); about 1790

This group is most closely related to the restored antique marble from the Borghese Gallery, Rome (now in the Louvre) but incorporates elements from various classical sources. The figures here, however, are separated by more space between them and are supported by an elaborate column. Canova first demonstrated his own interest in the subject - in paintings, drawings and a stucco relief- at about the same time as this group was produced. [December 1994]


Hard paste porcelain


Ceramics; Porcelain; Figures & Decorative ceramics


Ceramics Collection

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