The comedy figures depicted on the present lot must surely be among the earliest to appear on European porcelain. They are derived from Callot engravings, and are quite clearly too early to be taken from the Riccoboni/Joullain engravings of 1727.
The gilding on this teapot is applied in flat panels into which the decoration is scratched, suggesting that it was not applied in the Seuter workshop in Augsburg, where the gilt decoration was thickly applied and then engraved and burnished. It is possible that this rare early gilding was executed in the Dresden workshop of Martin Schnell, as it bears strong similarities with the gilding found on early Böttger stoneware pieces thought to have been decorated in his workshop. See Monika Kopplin, ‘Allerei lackierte Chinesen auf schwarzer Glasur – Lackmalerei auf Böttger-steinzeug und das Problem der Zuschreibung an Martin Schnell’ in Schwarz Porzellan, Museum für Lackkunst and Schloss Favorite bei Rastatt December 2003 – June 2004 Exhibition Catalogue, Munich, 2003, pp.171-193, and in particular the chinoserie figures on the black-glazed Böttger saucer (p. 179, fig. 17, which is a detail of p. 189, fig. 88), the chinoiserie figures on the black-glazed teabowl and saucer (p. 180, fig 21), the gilt strapwork and scroll decoration on the Böttger polished red stoneware tobacco-jar (p. 188, fig. 84) and the pilgrim-flasks illustrated on p. 190, fig. 90.