Palazzo Morosini Peloponesiaco a S. Stefano, printed in Venezia monumentale pittoresca, Part I: Palazzi, Marco Moro, Venice, 1845-1863, plate 57

According to den Blaauwen, 2000, p. 177, the municipal archives of Venice provided the information that the arms depicted on the present service were adopted by the doge Francesco Morosini (rule 1688-1694) by decree on November 25, 1690. As yet, it is not been possible to identify which member of the Morosini family was the recipient of this service. In 1890 the interiors of the Morosini Palazzo were described by Alberto Salvagnini, ‘Il Palazzo Morosini in Venezia’ in La Ressegna Nazionale. Salvagnini describes eight rooms, the first was the Doge’s private chapel, where above the alter, tied in the guise of a canopy was a Peloponnese flag; in the second room, a great reception room, the walls were lined with rich gold soprarizzi with crimson velvet florals, where seventeen large armchairs were placed, twelve of which were lined with the same soprarizzi, the others with velvet. He then describes superb tables where ‘small objects of Saxon porcelain’ were displayed (p. 12).

Countess Lauredana Gatterburg-Morosini was the last living member of the branch of the Morosini family which descended from Francesco Morosini. When the Countess died in 1894 she left no will, and though the state of Venice wanted to save the collection, they succeeded in buying only the archives, the library, and some key elements pertaining to the Doge, while the rest went to auction. The auction, which comprised 769 lots and lasted seven days, included weapons, bronzes, medals, jewels, marbles, Chinese, Japanese and Italian porcelain, glass, furniture, costumes, lace and carpets. The ‘Morosini Helmet’, lot 1 in the sale, which was illustrated on the catalogue cover, was later gifted to the National Gallery of Art, Washington (acc. no. 1942.9.356). The sale included nine lots of Meissen porcelain (lots 239-247), including the present service.

A large part of a different tea and coffee service bearing the Morosini coat of arms and painted with European landscapes, formerly in the J. P. Morgan Collection, and datable to 1743, was sold at Christie's London, November 28, 1975, lots 150-162, which included a coffee pot, teapot, sugar bowl, eight coffee cups and saucers, and eleven teabowls and saucers, (one of the teabowls bearing date 1743). The teapot stand is in the Dr. Ernst Schneider Collection, Schloss Lustheim (illustrated in Rückert 1966, no. 477; and Cassidy-Geiger 2007, fig. 10-34). The dated teabowl and saucer is now in the Carabelli Collection (Pietsch, 2000, no. 134).

A drawing of a figure offering tea, as seen on the teapot of the present lot, is in the Schulz Codex, pl. 102.

(Left) The collection of Fritz Mannheimer in situ, 1940 / Courtesy Noord-Hollands Archief, archief Rijksmuseum en rechtsvoorgangers te Amsterdam (toegang 476), 2142
(Right) The present lot on display at the Rijksmuseum in 1962 / Courtesy Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Sotheby's would like to thank Francesca Stopper for her kind assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.