View full screen - View 1 of Lot 211. A PAIR OF MEISSEN FIGURES OF PARROTS, CIRCA 1740.





CIRCA 1740

each with scale pattern feathers on their necks and green and blue plumage, perched on low stumps applied with pale turquoise leaves, one with crossed swords mark in underglaze-blue

height of tallest 8 in.

20.4 cm

Overall in good appearance with some restorations. In detail: Example facing its right. Tips of left wing feathers and lower-half of tail feathers re-stuck and restored. The underside of tail feathers at one corner with triangular chipped section. One talon on right foot restored. Three blue leaves on base restored. Example facing its left. Tip of beak restored with some associated spray to front of head. Both wing feathers and upper section of tail feathers with restoration. Two blue leaves restored. Both are in good appearance, the restoration is of a good quality.

"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

Sotheby's London, 10 April, 1951, lot 101
Acquired by Beran (£480)
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, New York
Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sotheby's New York, 25 April, 1998, lot 66 ($68,500) 
Carl Christian Dauterman, The Wrightsman Collection, New York 1970, Volume IV, p. 57, no. 22 A, B 

Parrots were a symbol of the exotic par excellence and Kändler's models were among the factory's most frequently produced bird figures. Parrots were modelled in different sizes: soon after the life-size parrots for the Japanese Palace, Kändler created, in July 1735, two small parrots (12cm tall). Then, in spite of no further mention in his records, the following pieces are noted in the Dresden stockroom listing of porcelain for Count von Brühl dated July 13, 1737: '1 Pappagey groß / 3 ditto mittle. / 1 D. keiner' [1 parrot large / 1 ditto medium / 1 ditto small] (Gerhard Röbbig, Cabinet Pieces: The Meissen Porcelain Birds of Johann Joachim Kändler, Munich 2008, p. 128.)

In May-October 1740, Kändler modelled new figures of parrots to match the ones already in the warehouse, 'in considerable size', i.e. 19cm:

'1: Einen Pappagoy in Thon poußiret große Sorte Vor Mons. Huiet. Daß solcher gegen den ehemals Von mir gefertigeten Pappagoy siehet.', [Modelled a large parrot in clay for Mons. Huet (Jean-Charles Huet, marchand-mercier). That this one is looking against the former model completed by me.]

'3: Zwey Pappagoyen Von Ziemlicher Größe auf einem großen Ast sietzend in Thon Poußiret Vor Mons. Huiet. Zwar daß solche gegen einander sehen.', [3: modelled in clay two parrots of suitable size, seated on a big branch for Mons. Huet. Namely, they are facing each other.]

'2. Zwey Pappagoyen Von Ziemlicher Größe aufs Waaren Laager in Thon poußiret und Sauberes Belege Zu deßen postamente gefertiget. Von zweyerley Arth.', [2: modelled in clay two parrots of suitable size for the warehouse and completed clean supports for their pedestals. Of two types.]

The lack of description seems to indicate that these birds were a generic type of parrot modelled by Kändler, as opposed to the Indian parrots or cockatoos modelled after life.

A pair of parrots mounted with French Transitional Louis XV/XVI gilt-bronze candelabra, formerly in the collection of Henry Ford II, was sold at Sotheby’s London, A Mansion – A Private Collection, 28 April, 2015, lot 78 (£93,750). Four pairs of these models, painted in varying enamels to depict different species, from the Collection of Sir Gawaine and Lady Baillie were sold at Sotheby’s London, 1 May, 2013, lots 80-83. A particularly close pair with same scale-painting on the head feathers was sold at Christie's Geneva, April 28, 1978, lot 153

Sotheby's Scientific Research department used noninvasive XRF for this lot to screen the green enamel for chromium, which was not detected.