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A Royal Menagerie: Meissen Porcelain Animals

  • Samuel Wittwer

    Heroic is perhaps the only word to describe the Meissen porcelain animals made for the Elector of Saxony, Frederick-Augustus. They were commissioned in 1728 and modeled and executed by 1735. The great size of the figures presented many technical difficulties in creation and firing. Their mere completion in so many cases was itself a tour de force, making it arguably the most significant commission for porcelain executed in Europe.

    Presented here are the large figures of animals from the collection of Frederick-Augustus, which were on exhibition at the Getty Museum from May 2001 to January 2002. Frederick-Augustus had long been a collector of Japanese and Chinese porcelain. He created the most ambitious interior for porcelain planned anywhere in Europe, the famous Japanese Palace in Dresden. On the upper floor was a gallery devoted to Meissen porcelain, filled with vases, great dishes, and the animal figures displayed in this beautifully illustrated book.

    Samuel Wittwer is curator of the ceramics collections at the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation and of the archives of the Royal Porcelain Manufactory, Berlin.

    "Slim but informative."
    —Los Angeles Times

    "A superbly presented survey of extraordinary 18th-century porcelain animals from Dresden."

    "Skillfully crafted gleaming white and colored monkeys, wolves, foxes and a wide variety of birds illustrate the informed text."
    —Copley News Service

    48 pages
    8 x 10 1/4 inches
    30 color and 17 b/w illustrations
    ISBN 978-0-89236-644-6

    Getty Publications
    Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum