Pair of large Berlin earthenware vases, 19th Century

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Pair of large baluster-shaped earthenware vases, green ground imitating Japanese lacquer, body with moulded decoration of Rococo Style cartouche enclosing couple of gilt birds, flowered branches on sides, lid finial designed as birds imitating Japanese porcelain.

Berlin, 19th Century

Height: 53 cm (20-7/8 in.)

Few chips

Berlin is known in the pottery world for realizing earthenware vases, often large, glazed with a layer of orangish-red, green, brown or black lacquer, imitating the Japanese process.

The shape of these reference Oriental models (or European imitating and incorporating Oriental models) known in Europe after the 17th century via the exported porcelain from the Orient. Here a famous Delft version was imitated.
The decoration of Berlin earthenware vases are often ornated with floral motifs, lively palace scenes or birds as is the case here.
These objects are fully displayed in the Chinoiserie style, the European vision of a dreamy Orient, where the world is peaceful and idealized. Flourishing particularly in France and more widely in Europe in the 18th century, Chinoiserie persisted in the German states until the late 18th century. It even had a revival in the first half of the 19th century in Prussia. It manifested particularly a trend for lacquer ware and porcelain from China.
The dating of this type of vases is not clearly defined. Some scholars dated the Berlin earthenware from the 18th century but according to Prof. Samuel Wittwer (Mr. Kopplin, Schwartz Porcelain: Die Leidenschaft Lack für das auf und ihre Wirkung Europaïsche Porzellan, Münster, 2003, p. 237-249) they seem to have been made in Berlin in the early 19th century to please a small circle of enthusiasts. It was around 1840 that it is first noted that these vases were recorded in the accounting ledgers of Hohenzollern, the royal family of Prussia. Some of these ceramics are still in the collections of the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin, Potsdam, New Palace in Postdam and the Museum of Lacq in Münster. Finally, an important set of Berlin earthenware vases was sold at the estate sale of the Count of Iveagh’s collections at Elveden Hall (Christie's, May 22-24, 1984, lot 2333 - 2336).

The employed technique, the sudden influences, the different shapes and unusual decoration contributes to this Berlin pottery production as undoubtedly among the finest of its time.

Bibliography :

W. Holzhausen, Lackkunst in Europa, Munich, 1982
M. Kopplin, Schwartz Porcelain : Die Leidenschaft für Lack und ihre Wirkung auf das Europaïsche Porzellan, Münster, 2003
M. Kopplin, Europäische Lackkunst, Münster, 1999

Comparative wares:

For a Berlin earthenware vase with green ground recently auctioned in Paris, consult Christie’s, Sale of Galerie Camoin Demachy, October 1, 2013, lot 70.

For a Berlin earthenware vase with same shape (Neuruppin Museum, inv. NR V-1529A), consult :
M. Kopplin, Schwartz Porcelain : Die Leidenschaft für Lack und ihre Wirkung auf das Europaïsche Porzellan, Münster, 2003, p. 248.

Otto von Falcke, Altberliner Fayence, Berlin, 1923 (for attribution for these vases is Cornelius Funcke manufacturing, Early 18th Century).

Provenance :

  • Item(s) quantity:  2
  • Height in cm : 53 cm
  • Expertissim Reference: 2014060564