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


  • Place of origin:

    Meissen (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1750-1755 (made)
    ca. 1750 (modelled)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Kändler, Johann Joachim, born 1706 - died 1775 (modeller)
    Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hard-paste porcelain, painted in enamels and gilt

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr W. A. J. Floersheim

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 53a, case 1

Object Type
This German porcelain figure was made to accompany a shepherdess. Idealised representations of shepherds and shepherdesses, often fashionably dressed, were very popular in mid-18th century Europe. In Britain such figures might have been displayed on a domestic furnishing, or, as in Germany, they might have been set out on a dining table during the dessert course of a grand meal. Meissen was the first factory to make porcelain figures for this purpose. They gradually replaced the sugar paste and wax figures that had been made from medieval times for royal wedding feasts. These were originally made to celebrate political allegiances. By the 16th century, allegorical themes had been introduced, and by the 18th century many were entirely decorative.

Continental porcelain could not be legally imported for sale in Britain until 1775, unless it was stated to be for personal use, not for resale. Despite this, in the 1750s large quantities of Meissen porcelain were sold in London china shops. Much of this was imported under the pretence that it was for personal use, but some was smuggled in. Meissen porcelain was greatly admired in mid-18th century Britain, and the English porcelain factories made many close copies of Meissen figures and wares.

Physical description

Figure of a shepherd playing bagpipes, of hard-paste porcelain. Striding man with stump support. At his feet a lying sheep, dog and a grazing sheep. High rococo-scrolled base. Painted with enamel colours and gilt, the costume puce, pale yellow and sea-green with puce Indian flowers.

Place of Origin

Meissen (made)


ca. 1750-1755 (made)
ca. 1750 (modelled)


Kändler, Johann Joachim, born 1706 - died 1775 (modeller)
Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Hard-paste porcelain, painted in enamels and gilt

Marks and inscriptions

Crossed swords
Factory mark in blue, behind base


Height: 25.8 cm, Width: 13.9 cm approx.

Descriptive line

Figure of a shepherd playing bagpipes, hard-paste porcelain painted in enamels and gilt, probably modelled by J. J. Kändler, about 1750, made by Meissen porcelain factory, Germany, ca. 1750-55

Labels and date

British Galleries:

The German Meissen factory invented the porcelain figure and established its use in table and interior decoration. Meissen introduced figure styles and subjects that the English factories followed until about 1770. Despite import restrictions and duties, Meissen porcelain was readily available and widely copied in England. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Attribution from the manuscript catalogue dates from about 1970 and was compiled by William Hutton of the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio.


Hard paste porcelain


Painted; Gilt

Subjects depicted

Dogs (animals); Shepherd; Sheep


Ceramics; Porcelain; Figures & Decorative ceramics


Ceramics Collection

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