Joseph Fröhlich (1694-1757) came originally from Salzkammergut, Austria. From 1725 he was a juggler in the Court of the Margrave of Bayreuth. On the recommendation of the Margrave's sister, Christiane Eberhardine, wife of Augustus the Strong, he came to Dresden where he remained until his death. In Dresden he was electoral and royal court juggler, adviser kurzweiliger Rat, magician and jester and from 1744 onwards royal Polish Mühlenkommisar. He was highly esteemed at court and is always shown in his Austrian dress of the Viennese fool, sometimes together with his colleague Schmiedel. Fröhlich owned a house in Dresden next to the Augustus Bridge, which he named Kleinmoritzburg. See Melitta Kunze-Köllensperger, Meissen, Collection Franz E. Burda, EOS, St Ottilien, 1997, p.80.
Fröhlich was first modelled by Kaendler in 1736, see his Arbeitsbericht, September 1736: 1 Josephs Figur in Thon geändert und verbessert, damit solcher aufs neue hat können abgeformt werden. Examples of the figures vary slightly, the present example having the addition of a bouquet of flowers in his hat and the unusual and amusing addition of pretzels applied to his jacket. Another unusual example with pretzels applied to the jacket, at the time thought to be a unique, was sold by Christie's Geneva, 16 May 1994, lot 76.
For a similar example of this model without pretzels see Yvonne Hackenbrooch, Meissen and other Continental Porcelain Faience and Enamel in the Irwin Untermyer Collection, London, 1956, pl.45, fig. 100 where she notes that this model is after an engraving by C.F. Boetius, dated 1729, illustrated by F.H. Hofmann, Das Porzellan der Europaeischen Manufakturen im XVIII, Jahrhundert, Berlin, 1932, p. 318, fig. 317. For a full discussion of the model, see Ulrich Pietsch Die Figürliche Meissner Porzellanplastik von Gottlieb Kirchner und Johann Joachim Kaendler, Munich, 2006, pp. 11-13, nos. 4 and 5.