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  • Figure
    Kändler, Johann Joachim, born 1706 - died 1775
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    Meissen (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1740 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kändler, Johann Joachim, born 1706 - died 1775 (modeller)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hard-paste porcelain, painted in enamel colours and gilded

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs O. J. Finney in memory of Oswald James Finney

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 139, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case P, shelf 3

In the 1740s the Meissen modeller J. J. Kaendler devised a wide range of porcelain figures for table decoration. The most popular were probably characters from the Italian Opera. This was a popular satirical travelling theatre, from which the miniature Punch and Judy developed in the 1800s. The colourful figure of Harlequin could be displayed in many postures and guises.

Physical description

Figure of Harlequin, hard-paste porcelain painted in enamels and gilded. The crouching figure wearing a green hat with a blue rosette is recoiling back against a stump as if in fear or revulsion. His moustachio'd face is decorated with black patches, his tunic is painted in red, black and blue diaper pattern with gold trim and purple bows. He has a brown slapstick tucked into his belt. His right trouser leg is painted with plum-coloured stripes and ribbons, his left leg with a pattern of playing cards on a yellow ground. He is wearing red shoes with blue rosettes and yellow heels. The base and stump are embellished with green leaves and coloured flowers.

Place of Origin

Meissen (made)


ca. 1740 (made)


Kändler, Johann Joachim, born 1706 - died 1775 (modeller)

Materials and Techniques

Hard-paste porcelain, painted in enamel colours and gilded

Marks and inscriptions

Printed in purple within a circle on biscuit


Height: 16.5 cm, Width: 9.8 cm

Descriptive line

Figure of Harlequin in hard-paste porcelain painted in enamels and gilded, modelled by J.J. Kaendler, made by Meissen porcelain factory, Germany, ca. 1740.

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

Hildyard, Robin. European Ceramics. London : V&A Publications, 1999. 144 p., ill. ISBN 185177260X
Hackenbroch, Yvonne. Meissen and other continental porcelain, faience and enamel in the Irwin Untermyer collection. Cambridge, Published for the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Harvard University Press, 1956.


Hard paste porcelain


Painted; Gilded

Subjects depicted

Leaves; Flowers; Commedia dell'arte


Ceramics; Porcelain; Figures & Decorative ceramics


Ceramics Collection

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