Lot 29
  • 29

An Important Nymphenburg figure of Lalage from the Commedia dell'arte, circa 1759-65

80,000 - 120,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • 20.5cm., 8 in. high
modelled by Franz Anton Bustelli, wearing a tightly fitted corset with a rhombic pattern in blue, red, black and yellow, her billowing skirt decorated with a broad hem of half-arcs with blossoms, her neck adorned with a black blow, a yellow hat sits on her light-gray hair, holding a plate in her left hand with her right hand raised holding a spoon to feed the baby monkey on Mezzetino's arm, upon on a scroll edged picked out in gilding, impressed shield mark to underside of base,


Alfred Ziffer, Bustelli, Nymphenburger Porzellanfiguren des Rokoko, 2005, p. 479;
Ulrich Pietsch, Preziosen, einer süddeutschen Kunstsammlung, 2001, pp. 86-87;
Guido Gregorietti, Anton Franz Bustelli, il creatore delle più belle figurine in porcellana, in 3 Mostra Nazionale dell'Antiquario, Roma, Palazzo Braschi, 7 Maggio-29 Maggio 1966, front cover, p. 72;
Rainer Rückert, Bustelli, 1963, no. 213

Catalogue Note

In the literature, this figure was shown with a Mezzetino in 1966, which is now in the collection of the Gardiner Museum, Toronto, inv. no. G83.1.0954; however, the colouring of the pattern shows that he was not her original partner. A much better match is the model of Mezzetino from the Vagliano collection which was sold at Christie's London, 14th July 1955, lot 31.

An almost identical figure is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, acc. no. 1974.356.524, The Lesley and Emma Sheafer Collection, bequest of Emma A. Sheafer, 1973, previously in the collection of Catalina von Pannwitz (by descent); Walter von Pannwitz, Berlin; a second very similarly decorated figure is in the Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin, Inv.-Nr. HF535a, formerly in the Hermine Feist Collection (published by Rainer Rückert, Franz Anton Bustelli, 1963, no. 43, cover, and Otto von Falke, Deutsche Porzellanfiguren, 1919, pl. 18)

An example painted with a garland of flowers at the hem of her dress, along with her companion Harlequin with a baby monkey are in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Museum, Hamburg, Inv.-Nr. B.49, previously in The Blohm collection, Sotheby's London, 10th October 1961, lot 669, The Feist Collection, later in the Berlin Schlossmuseum, sold in Munich at the sale of the 'Kunstwerke aus dem Besitz der Staatlichen Museen', Berlin 1937, nos. 552 and 533 (published in the Blohm collection catalogue by Robert Schmidt, 1953, no. 276, pl. 73, Reinhard Jansen, Commedia dell'Arte, Fest der Komödianten, 2001, p. 195 no. 202); Another pair is in the Kocher collection, Inventar Nrs. 27845 and 27846, previously in the collection of the Hofmarschal Baron zu Rhein (published by Robert L. Wyss, Porzellan Sammlung Kocher, 1965, p. 191 and 192)

An unusual example with her skirt painted with a band of seated Chinamen is in the Bavarian National Museum, Inv.-Nr.77/45, acquired from The Maurice de Rothschild Collection, Christie's London, 28th March 1977, lot 157, previously in the Baroness Van Zuylen Van Nyevelt collection, Christie's London, 25th November 1954, lot 1 and 2; an example from the R. Thornton Wilson collection was gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1943, acc. no. 43.100.56.