Lot 10
  • 10

A Meissen figure of a roller circa 1740

4,500 - 6,000 GBP
8,750 GBP
bidding is closed


  • porcelain
modelled by J. J. Kändler and J. G. Ehder, with green body and russet back, its wings edged in blue and black, perched on a gnarled tree-trunk applied with flowering branches, a beetle and a caterpillar, crossed swords mark in underglaze-blue (some restoration)


Sotheby's London, 7th October 1986, lot 249

Catalogue Note

Kändler's Work Records for August 1735 read: '10. Eine Mandel Krähe angefangen Welche ins Königl. Balläis gehörig an Welcher aber noch etwas zu fertigen übrig Verblieben' [10. Began a roller which is to go to the Royal Palace but there remains some work to do to finish it]. J. G. Ehder records in October 1739: 'In Thon poussiert: 1 Mandel Grahen Kopf' [modelled in clay: 1 roller head].

The work records for October 1739-January 1740 then show: 'Spezificaztion Derjenigen Model, welche à 1ten Oct 1739 bis ult January 1740 von mir Endes unterschiebenen nebst einen Gesellen, nach Feyerabende verfertiget, und zur Königl. Porcellain-Fabrique zu Meissengeliefert werden...1 Mandel Grehe, so auch auff einen grossen Ast sitze und die flügel von sich streckert, modelliert' [Specification of the mentioned model, which between 1st October 1739 and the end of January 1740 was ultimately imposed upon an apprentice, has been completed after the Feyer-evening and delivered to the Royal Porcelain Factory in Meissen...1 roller, modelled perched on a large stump and wings outstretched].

Kändler's Taxa then duly records '1 Mandel Krähe auf einen grossen Aste sitzend und die Flügel von sich streckened...3 Thlr.16g' [1. A roller perched on a large branch and with wings spread...3 Thlr.16g].

Interestingly, this and most other examples of the bird are painted (though not entirely accurately) with dramatic plumage much closer to that of  the  Lilac-Breasted Roller of  sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian peninsular, than that of the less exotically-coloured European Roller.

For similar models, see Hackenbroch (1956), pl. 14, fig.16; Albiker (1959), no. 131,  and Rückert (1966), nos. 1110 and 1111.