TWO MEISSEN FIGURES OF KINGFISHERS ONE CIRCA 1735, THE OTHER PROBABLY LATER
The companion model was created by Eberlein in May 1739; his records read 'Eis Vogel auf einen Felsen sitzend von Doone gemacht' [a Kingfisher perched on a rock, made in clay].
Always a rare figure, only four kingfishers in all were delivered to the Japanese Palace, in 1736, and of these only two remained in the 1770 inventory; even that entry was subsequently crossed out, with the added note 'broken during cleaning' ; see Wittwer (2006), p. 342.
Other examples of the model were sold from the collection of Lord Hastings, Sotheby's London, 6th June 1950, lots 130 and 131; and at Sotheby's London, 17th October 1989, lot 320 (a pair, mounted in ormolu). A pair was also offered at Christie's, 7th July 2003, lot 118, and a single example was offered at Sotheby's London, 7th June 1999, lot 79.
By contrast with their predominance on useful wares after 1738, impressed numerals are rarely found on early Meissen figures. They were said by W. B. Honey to be based upon an inventory started in 1763, but their occasional appearance on figures which are clearly earlier in date leaves the matter for debate.