Möllendorf service thumbnail 1
Möllendorf service thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Europe 1600-1815, Room 3

Möllendorf service

Sugar Caster
ca. 1761 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This piece is from a dinner service made at the Meissen porcelain factory in Saxony, Germany, for Frederick the Great of Prussia around 1761. Frederick the Great had visited Meissen several times, placed orders with the factory, received gifts of Meissen porcelain from Augustus III, the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, and had plans to establish his own rival factory at Berlin before his Prussian forces occupied Saxony for the second time in 1756. Frederick ordered several table services from Meissen during the Prussian occupation of Saxony in the early 1760s. These were intended for his personal use, and he directed and oversaw their design. Artistically this service of 1761, now known as the Möllendorf Service, is the most important.

Many of the tableware shapes and the low relief moulded decoration of the Möllendorf Service were repeated from an earlier service of 1760, which was decorated at Frederick’s order with the same floral cartouches enclosing musical instruments and emblems of war. The handles on the tureen covers of both services were modelled either as Minerva, symbolizing the intelligent conduct of war and wise governance in peacetime, or as nymphs with flowers, fruit, corn or pitchers of wine. This earlier service was in turn inspired by another one, made for Count Bruhl, Prime Minister of Saxony, in 1742. Frederick stipulated in 1761 that his new service should be painted in the combination of the special red enamel and gold reserved at Meissen ‘for the Saxon ruler.’ The design and decoration were therefore in part taken from Saxon court services made for his subdued adversaries, and were politically charged.

The service was begun in 1761, and originally comprised 697 pieces, including 144 dinner plates and 48 soup plates. Dessert plates and possibly also the multi-part plat de ménage (centrepiece with lemon baskets and cruets) were added in 1763. In 1781 Frederick gave the service to General Wichard von Möllendorf, and as a consequence it is now generally known as the Möllendorf Service.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Sifter
  • Sifter Stand
TitleMöllendorf service (generic title)
Materials and techniques
Hard-paste porcelain with moulded and applied decoration, painted in enamels and gilded
Brief description
Sugar caster and stand, part of the Möllendorf dinner service, hard-paste porcelain with moulded and applied decoration, painted in enamels and gilded, designed by J.J. Kändler, made by Meissen porcelain factory, Germany, ca. 1761.
Physical description
Sugar caster and stand of hard-paste porcelain, from a plat de ménage (centrepiece), part of the Möllendorf service.
Gallery label
Meissen Service for Frederick the Great This dinner service originally comprised over 685 pieces, each with matching decoration as in a modern table service. The set illustrates how dining habits changed in the 18th century. It is made of porcelain, which increasingly replaced silver at grand meals. It features tureens for the new, fashionable soups French chefs had introduced, and grand centrepieces made for condiments. These would have dominated the table. Part dinner service Sugar caster and mustard pot About 1761–63 Like the lemon baskets and cruets, these items were made for one of the grand centrepieces supplied with the service. Sugar was once a condiment for savoury food, but during the 18th century this use for sugar began to decline. Germany (Dresden) Made at the Meissen factory Made for and under the direction of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, and modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler Porcelain painted in enamels and gilded Purchased with funds from the Captain H.B. Murray Bequest Museum no.s C.244 and 245-1921(09/12/2015)
Credit line
Purchased with the assistance of the Captain H. B. Murray Bequest
Object history
Part of a dinner service (Möllendorf service), C.238 to 256-1921. Partly designed by Frederick the Great of Prussia.
Subjects depicted
Association
Summary
This piece is from a dinner service made at the Meissen porcelain factory in Saxony, Germany, for Frederick the Great of Prussia around 1761. Frederick the Great had visited Meissen several times, placed orders with the factory, received gifts of Meissen porcelain from Augustus III, the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, and had plans to establish his own rival factory at Berlin before his Prussian forces occupied Saxony for the second time in 1756. Frederick ordered several table services from Meissen during the Prussian occupation of Saxony in the early 1760s. These were intended for his personal use, and he directed and oversaw their design. Artistically this service of 1761, now known as the Möllendorf Service, is the most important.

Many of the tableware shapes and the low relief moulded decoration of the Möllendorf Service were repeated from an earlier service of 1760, which was decorated at Frederick’s order with the same floral cartouches enclosing musical instruments and emblems of war. The handles on the tureen covers of both services were modelled either as Minerva, symbolizing the intelligent conduct of war and wise governance in peacetime, or as nymphs with flowers, fruit, corn or pitchers of wine. This earlier service was in turn inspired by another one, made for Count Bruhl, Prime Minister of Saxony, in 1742. Frederick stipulated in 1761 that his new service should be painted in the combination of the special red enamel and gold reserved at Meissen ‘for the Saxon ruler.’ The design and decoration were therefore in part taken from Saxon court services made for his subdued adversaries, and were politically charged.

The service was begun in 1761, and originally comprised 697 pieces, including 144 dinner plates and 48 soup plates. Dessert plates and possibly also the multi-part plat de ménage (centrepiece with lemon baskets and cruets) were added in 1763. In 1781 Frederick gave the service to General Wichard von Möllendorf, and as a consequence it is now generally known as the Möllendorf Service.
Bibliographic references
  • Honey, W. B. Dresden china: an introduction to the study of Meissen porcelain. London: A. & C. Black, 1946, Pl. LIV, p. 125.
  • Pietsch, Ulrich and Banz, Claudia (eds). Triumph of the Blue Swords, Meissen Porcelain for Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie 1710-1815, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, 2010 no. 297
Collection
Accession number
C.245&A-1921

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Record createdOctober 26, 2009
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