Lot 212
  • 212

Royal: A set of twelve German silver dinner plates for Frederick the Great, Christian Lieberkühn the Younger, Berlin, 1746-47

90,000 - 120,000 USD
112,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • marked on bases, each numbered and engraved with scratch weights: No. 4 - 2M 12 lot, No. 47 - 2M 12 lot 1 q, No. 82 - 2M 12 lot 3 q, No. 106 - 2M 11 lot 2 q, No. 265 - 2M 11 lot 1 q, No. 282 - 2M 11 lot 3 q, No. 302 - 2M 13 lot 1/2 q, No. 330 - 2M 11 lot 1/2 q, No. 339 - 2M 13 lot 1 1/2 q, No. 341 - 2M 15 lot 3 3/4 q, No. 350 - 2M 13 lot - q, No. 359 - 2M 11 lot 3 q
  • silver, leather
shaped circular with molded rims, the reverse of each engraved with monogram FR within a rococo cartouche below the Royal Prussian crown, in later leather travelling case, with a copy of the 1937 bill of sale.


Frederick the Great, by descent to
Crown Prince Wilhelm and Crown Princess Cecilie
Purchased from Schloss Cecilienhof, Potsdam, February 22, 1937 by Frau Henschel, wife of Carl Henschel
Descended within family

Catalogue Note

These plates come from a massive silver dinner service ordered by Frederick the Great in October 1746, after the Second Silesian War.  Commissioned from the Court Goldsmith Christian Lieberkühn, a major exponent of Berlin rococo, the new service was probably intended for Schloss Sanssouci.  The palace was just being finished, and the vine leaves featured on the larger pieces were a motif particular to that rural residence, which started as a terraced vineyard.

The new service was finished in 1747, possibly in time for the inauguration of the palace on May 2nd.  It would therefore have been available for Fredrich’s famous “table talks” at Sanssouci, where the monarch gathered the most notable representatives of the Enlightenment, including from 1750 to 1753 his house guest, Voltaire.

Elements of the service preserved today include round tureens in two sizes, taken by Wilhelm II to Huis Doorn, candelabra at Schloss Charlottenberg, and dish covers, platters, and candlesticks still owned by the Prussian Royal family.  The plates offered here were part of a group taken at some point to Schloss Cecilienhof, the English Tudor-style palace in Potsdam begun in 1912 for the Crown Prince.  After the 1918 Revolution the Crown Prince and Princess were allowed to continue living in the building, fleeing only with the Soviet advance in 1945.  A receipt dated 22 February 1937 records the sale of 48 silver plates and 8 platters to Frau Henschel, signed by the Schloßoberinspektor.

Georg Christian Carl Henschel founded Henschel & Son in 1810 at Kassel; his son Carl Anton Henschel founded another factory in 1837. The company began manufacturing locomotives in 1848, eventually becoming the largest locomotive manufacturer in Germany by the 20th century.

Plates from this service were sold Christie's, London, October 31, 2002, including two sets of twelve, lots 18 and 19.