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A pair of Meissen armorial plates from the Münchhausen service
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A pair of Meissen armorial plates from the Münchhausen service

CIRCA 1740, BLUE CROSSED SWORDS, PRESSNUMMER 16

Details
A pair of Meissen armorial plates from the Münchhausen service
CIRCA 1740, BLUE CROSSED SWORDS, PRESSNUMMER 16
Painted in puce camaieu with a fabulous 'Löwenfinck' beast surrounded by shrubs, butterflies and a bird within a shaped border with scattered flowersprays, the coat-of-arms at the top, the rim with puce scrolls and a double gilt line (slight wear to glaze and minor scratches to enamel)
23.5 cm. diam. (2)
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Christie’s charges a premium to the buyer on the Hammer Price of each lot sold at the following rates: 29.75% of the Hammer Price of each lot up to and including €5,000, plus 23.8% of the Hammer Price between €5,001 and €400,000, plus 14.28% of any amount in excess of €400,001. Buyer’s premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.

Lot Essay

The arms, a Cistercian monk on a field or, is that of Gerlach Adolf von Münchhausen (1688-1770), and not of Freiherrn Karl Hieronymus von Münchhausen (1720-1797) as previously thought.

A younger son of a Saxon nobleman, Münchhausen was appointed to the court of appeals in Dresden in 1714 and a year later entered into the service of Brunswick-Hanover. George II of England, also Elector of Hanover, appointed him to the Court in Celle and from 1732 he governed the English King's lands in the area on his behalf. He increasingly rose to prominence in political circles, developing a particularly strong relationship with the Kings of England. After George II's death, George III appointed him first minister of Brunswick-Hanover.

It would appear that the service was a gift from Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony as Münchhausen engineered, after some negotiation, a loan of 3.5 million thalers from Brunswick to Saxony. Correspondence between Graf von Hennicke and Münchhausen (now in the Dresden archives) also record Hennicke urgently requesting a drawing of Münchhausen's coat of arms (letter dated 4th January 1745), and by April, Münchhausen wrote to thank him for 'the magnificent gift of porcelain from His Majesty'. There has been some speculation as to which monarch Münchhausen was referring, either George II of England or Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, but it is much more probable that it was a reference to Augustus III.

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