597
597

THE PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE NORTH GERMAN COLLECTION

A rare Meissen Masonic `Crinoline' group, circa 1745
Estimate
20,00030,000
LOT SOLD. 61,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
597

THE PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE NORTH GERMAN COLLECTION

A rare Meissen Masonic `Crinoline' group, circa 1745
Estimate
20,00030,000
LOT SOLD. 61,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

From Earth to Fire

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A rare Meissen Masonic `Crinoline' group, circa 1745
modelled by J. J. Kändler, the lady wearing a black dress decorated with indianische-Blumen, a purple bodice and a yellow mob-cap, seated sewing at a table with a pug at her side, her companion leaning over her and blowing a kiss, wearing a lilac frock coat and breeches and an iron-red waistcoat, his hair en-queue and a masonic badge on a blue ribbon around his neck, the oval base applied with flowers and leaves, 
25.5cm., 10 in. wide.
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Provenance

Anon. sale, Sotheby's Geneva, 10th May, 1988, lot 42;
With Elfriede Langeloh, Weinheim.

Catalogue Note

The constitution of the Order of the Pugs was designed in 1740 as a fraternal group for Roman Catholics who had been forbidden to join the Freemasons and practice their rites by Pope Clement XII 's 1738 bull, In Eminenti Apostolatus Specula. The para-Masonic secret society was patronized by the most illustrious persons of Germany and believed to have been founded in Bavaria by the elector of Cologne, Clemens August of Wittelsbach (1700-1761). It was the first masonic order that welcomed women as members on the condition that they were Catholic. Females were admitted to all offices with the exception of the Grand Master, which was held for life. Members of the lodge called themselves ‘Pugs’ and wore, discreetly a silver pug on a medallion. They were required to wear a dog collar, and gained entrance to the lodge by scratching at the door.  As part of the initiation ritual the blindfolded candidates were lead around a symbol-filled carpet nine times while the assembled ‘Pugs’ of the Order barked loudly and yelled ‘Memento mori’, ('Remember you shall die') to test the steadiness of the newcomers. As an expression of total devotion novices kissed the Grand Pug's backside, which in reality was a symbolic porcelain pug. The lap-dog of aristocracy was chosen as a symbol of loyalty, trustworthiness and steadiness. While German sources state that the order was short-lived and outlawed in 1748, they were reportedly active in Lyon as late as 1902.

The model is listed in Kändler's taxa or work records for 1740-48 as '1 Frey Maurer Groupgen, da eine Dame an einem Tische, darauff ein Neh-Küssen befindl. sizet, und ein Schurz Fell einfasst, neben der Dame sizt ein Mopss Hund, ein Frey Mauer aber findet sich zu ihr und will sie Küssen, 18. Thtr.'

An example similarly showing the pug stood on top of the table was in the collection of Maurice de Rothschild, his (anon.) sale, Christie's London, 28th March 1977, lot 57; and another was sold at Sotheby's London, 29th June 182, lot 105.

From Earth to Fire

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London