Columbine and Brighella belong to a series of small comedy figures made at the Vienna. The Imperial theatre architect, court theatre painter and cabinet draughtsman, Andreas Altomonte, worked with the master modeller Niedermayer to produce figures which combined theatrical elements with contemporary sculptural and architectural elements. The figures in the series were all given architectural plinth bases, and the costumes were based on drawings provided by Daniele Antonio Bertoli.1
Brighella was one of 'zanni', the servants or valets in the Commedia dell'Arte. Their costumes were often characterised by an 'inventive hat' and 'long baggy pants and voluminous, sleeved, high-length jackets belted at the waist'. Chilton notes that these costumes appear to 'stem from the traditional male costumes worn in the sixteenth century during the Venetian Carnival'.1 For a figure of Columbine, see Wilhelm Mrazek and Waltraud Neuwirth, Wiener Porzellan 1718-1864, Catalogue of the Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, 1970, table 60, no. 359.
1. Who was drawing master to Maria Theresa and Imperial Gallery Inspector from 1731. See Elisabeth Strum-Bednarczyk (ed.), ibid., pp. 176-181.
2. See Meredith Chilton, Harlequin Unmasked, The Commedia dell'Arte and Porcelain Sculpture, Singapore, 2001, pp. 88-90.