Given by King Frederick William IV of Prussia to his sister Alexandrine, the Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, this exquisite krater vase by KPM Berlin has both a fascinating royal provenance and spectacular artistry. The model, based on the famed Medici Krater in the Uffizi in Florence, was very rarely executed by the porcelain manufactory due to its size and technically complex form, and was reserved almost exclusively for the most lavish of gifts. The present example, with its sumptuous painting and exquisite detail, is no exception. Once part of the world-renowned Twinight Collection of Royal Porcelain and displayed at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Sèvres Porcelain Museum in France, this one-of-a-kind porcelain vase is an exceptional artifact of Prussian royal history.
The splendor and sophistication of the craftsmanship on display in this krater vase is indicative of its extraordinary provenance. The entire surface of the rare form features the absolute finest gilt decoration interwoven into the impeccable hand-painted classical motifs. Masterfully executed on each side are topographical views of the royal country seats in Silesia, painted with painstaking precision within rectangular fields that reflect the beauty and tranquility of the countryside.
Charmingly situated in the rolling valleys of the Riesengebirge, the resorts in Silesia were highly favored by the Prussian royal family, and the estates were greatly expanded during the reign of King Friedrich Wilhelm III. The king was personally involved in the installation of the 13th-century medieval stave church, which was purchased at auction in Norway and painstakingly reconstructed in Brückenberg. Still standing to this day, it remains one an architectural gem of the Riesengebirge.
It was perhaps due to his father’s interest in the site that King Frederick William IV ordered the church be represented on this extraordinary gift to his sister. Registered in the king’s order book as a personal gift, the vase’s entry reads “Two ‘no. 3’ vases with views of Schloss Erdmannsdorf and Erdmannsdorf from Rothersberg: the Norwegian church in Brücken and the Schweiserhaus on the Rothersberg, with pedestals.” Sadly, the mate to the present work was destroyed during World War II, making this extraordinary vase the only of its kind.
Commissioned by the King of Prussia as a personal gift to his sister and created by one of the greatest names in porcelain, this gorgeous vase is not only an awe-inspiring work of art, but also one of the most significant Royal porcelain pieces to come on the market in recent decades.
This vase is featured in Refinement & Elegance: Early 19th-Century Royal Porcelain from the Twinight Collection, New York, pages 366-367, number 118.
The piece is marked on the interior Ansicht des Schweizer Hauses Sr. Majestät auf dem Rothersberge (View of His Majesty’s chalet in Rothersberge) and Die norvegishe Kirche Wang in Brückenberg (The Norwegian church of Wang in Brückenberg)
23 7/8” high x 20” diameter
Royal Porcelain from the Twinight Collection, 1800–1850, September 2008 – August 2009, Metropolitan Museum of Art