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H5127 Portrait bust, 'Baron' Schmiedel, hard-paste porcelain, modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler, made by Royal Saxon Porcelain Manufactory, Meissen, Germany, 1739. Click to enlarge.

Baron Schmiedel bust by Johann Joachim Kändler‡

by Kändler, Johann Joachim in Meissen, Germany, 1739.
The satirical portrait bust of the court jester Johann Gottfried Tuscheer (born as Johann Gottfried Graf), better known as Baron Schmiedel or Postmaster Schmiedel, was one of the last royal commissions for the Japanese Palace of Augustus the Strong, King of Poland (ruled 1694-1733) and Elector of Saxony. The Japanese Palace was a lavish structure in Dresden refurbished to house both the fabulous royal collection of East Asian porcelains and the amazing new products of the Royal Saxon Porcelain Manufactory in Meissen near Dresden in Germany. Established in 1710, following re-discovery of porcelain formula by the King's imprisoned alchemist Johann Joachim Böttger, Meissen was Europe's first factory to make true or hard-paste porcelain. By the mid 1730s, the factory had been able to make monumental animal sculptures, apostle figures and even architectural elements alongside their exquisitely painted vases and tableware.

The bust was modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler (1706-75), the court 'Modellmeister' (master modeller) who worked at the Meissen manufactory from 1731 until his death in 1775. The bust was ordered by Augustus III, Augustus the Strong's son and successor. The medallion on Schmiedel's chest is based on one of Augustus' coronation medals.

A highly talented individual who delighted in dressing in the latest fashions, Schmiedel was one of two most prominent jesters at the Saxon court at the time. His role as a jester involved attending the kings in their dressing rooms, at dinners and even at the most intimate court gatherings. He kept company with the kings on visits and hunting expeditions, always ready to crack a joke, exchange witty badinage or play magic tricks with mice (he was well known for his morbid fear of all rodents). Schmiedel was rewarded with numerous 'titles' and valuable presents including Meissen porcelain.

The Schmiedel bust was discovered in Sydney in 1949 by the noted Sydney antique dealer William Bradshaw at a time when its importance and history had been long forgotten. It was acquired by the Museum in 1951. This bust is one of only three original examples of this design known to exist, and is among the most important objects in the Museum's collection of ceramics.

Eva Czernis-Ryl, 2005

For full story see: E. Czernis-Ryl, 'The golden years of Meissen porcelain and Saxon jesters: the Schmiedel bust in Australia', Keramik-Freunde der Schweiz (Bulletin des Amis Suisses de la Ceramique), Mitteilungsblatt nr 104, October 1989, pp.5-11

Summary

Object No.

H5127

Object Statement

Portrait bust, 'Baron' Schmiedel, hard-paste porcelain, modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler, made by Royal Saxon Porcelain Manufactory, Meissen, Germany, 1739

Physical Description

A head and shoulders satirical portrait bust in glazed white hard-paste porcelain. The piece is naturalistically modelled to portray a solidly built man with the head turned to his right, with an up curled moustache and wearing a wig with queue (pigtail) wound around with a ribbon. His elaboratecostume includes a tricorn (three-pointed hat) with a bow set on the left, an unbuttoned, embroidered collarless coat and waistcoat and undershirt. A large medallion with a profile portrait of Augustus III (coronation medallion), hangs from a cord that sits around his neck and chest. There is a badge on the left attached to his coat, with the Royal Polish and Saxon coats of arms. Above the badge there are two small chains with a post horn hanging from them. A cloak is draped across the man's body and there are small watch fobs attached just below its curve; one mouse dangles by its tail from his mouth, another is in the crown of the hat and the third sits on his right shoulder.

Marks

No marks.

Dimensions

Height

475 mm

Width

360 mm

Depth

260 mm

Production

Notes

The bust of Baron Schmiedel was modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler in Germany during 1739.

Cite this Object

Harvard

Baron Schmiedel bust by Johann Joachim Kändler‡ 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 15 August 2020, <https://ma.as/242263>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/242263 |title=Baron Schmiedel bust by Johann Joachim Kändler‡ |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=15 August 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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