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Court Silversmith Christian Lieberkühn the Younger
Christian Lieberkühn the Younger (1709-1780) was court silversmith to Frederick the Great. The King took a personal interest in the Lieberkühn family, one of whom visited England in 1740, where he may have visited the workshop of Paul de Lamerie. Frederick, in common with his royal ancestors, placed a high value on the importance of his silver table-services as a visible display of his wealth, and in the eighteenth century his table-services formed three-quarters of the kingdom's silver treasury. It was natural that to celebrate Prussian war victories he should think of commissioning a new service, and so upon his return to Berlin in 1741, Lieberkühn was ordered to produce a massive gold dinner-service.
Due to the high value of gold and silver it had for centuries been customary for the commissioner to provide all or some portion of the metal with which the goldsmith could then produce the new articles. Older, out of fashion articles were melted down and re-formed, and thus recycled into up to the minute pieces as styles changed. Accordingly, seventeenth century gold from the King's mother's treasury was supplied to Lieberkühn for this purpose, having first been stripped jewels, which were sold to finance the new service. The value of the melted gold was 704 Marks. The King himself supervised Lieberkühn's work on the Golden Service. It first appeared at the wedding of Princess Luise Ulrike, the King's sister, to Swedish Crown Prince Gustav Adolf Friedrich, and comprised some six dozen plates, four candelabra each with six branches, numerous tureens, casters, dishes, and many other articles.
To complete the service in 1746 Lieberkühn was asked to produce two dozen plates, plus meat-dishes, knives, spoons, forks, dish-covers and other articles of silver, to the value of 21,556 Thaler. Although the gold service was melted down in 1809 to pay the subsidies owed to Napoleon, more silver pieces were apparently commissioned and in 1764 Lieberkühn calculated the completion of another new service at 1201 Mark of silver worth 6483 Thaler, 5 Groschen, 6 Pfennige. An 1895 inventory listed far greater quantities than were present in the original list, including some thirty dozen plates, circular and oval soup-tureens, oval dishes with dish-covers, and a hundred and sixteen candelabra.
Ein Deutscher Silberdeckel