Berlin Porcelain Pair of Rollers

Friedrich Elias Meyer

(Erfurt, 1723 - Berlin, 1785)
Heights with mounts: 26.4 and 26.8 cm (10.4 and 10.5 in.) Marked 'Sceptre' in underglaze blue Model no. 230, probably by Friedrich Elias Meyer, with ormolu mounts by Henri Dasson, Paris - Circa 1765

This model of the roller is rare, and only one other pair is known, in a New York private collection. No depiction of similar birds can be found in the expert literature. They can only be identified through the model book of the Berlin manufactory, published by Georg Lenz in 1913 (Lenz I p 29 = Köllmann / Jarchow I. p. 308). Here they are mentioned in the category ‘birds’ with the model no. 230: ‘Rollers [Blaueraack], two companions, one with A and B’.

The universal encyclopedia by Johann Heinrich Zedler (which was also used by the Meissen modeler Johann J. Kändler) describes the bird in volume IV column 51:

‘Bluerack, almond crow [roller], green crow. It is a bird of the same size as the ‘nucifraga caryocatates’. His body is coloured in light blue, his back is brownish. He does not breed here but comes at harvest time and eats grain remnants, of which he is able to swallow a lot. He is fat and has tasty flesh.“

The Modeller Friedrich Elias Meyer

The artistic expression of the rollers is closer to Meissen bird figures by Kändler, pointing to Meyer as the likely modeler, as he began his career at Meissen in 1748, before coming to Berlin in 1761. In November of his first year in Meissen, Meyer noted that he had to mould animal figures after life (Rückert 1990 p. 120).

The Ormolu Mount

Both pedestals bear the signature of Henry Dasson (1825 – 1896), who at the time belonged to the most famous bronze workers in Paris. His workshop was situated in the rue Vieille-du-Temple, where he specialized in the production of Louis XIV, XV and XVI style furniture using the finest gilt-bronze mounts. At the Expositions Universelles in Paris in 1878 and 1889 Dasson exhibited a number of pieces in the Louis XV and XVI style and pieces of his own modified 18thcentury design. The 1878 exhibit included a table entirely of gilt-bronze and a copy of the celebrated Bureau du Roi, his most famous work (source: Thieme- Becker, Wikipedia).


Michele Beiny

"European Porcelain and Faience; Renaissance Jewelry, Gold Boxes and Vertu; Contemporary Ceramics and Glass"

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