The origin of this exceptionally attractive form of enamelling has long been debated. Known as mail de Saxe, this work consists of "painting in soft colour, using sensitive vitrifiable pigment on a ground of white, opaque enamel; delicate reliefs of stamped gold leaf further increased the precious appearance of the metalwork itself". (L. Seelig, Silver and Gold, Courtly Splendour from Augsburg, Munich, 1995, p. 40). This type of work has been traditionally associated with the Berlin workshop of the Huguenot refugees Pierre and Alexandre Fromery, but it seems possible that such enamel work may well have been carried out in Augsburg itself.
A number of Augsburg goldsmiths seem to have specialised in mounting such enamel ware. These include Johann Erhard II Heuglin who around 1725, with others, made a magnificent toilet-service in this technique which was formerly in the collection of the Grand Dukes of Mecklenburg and Daniel I Schaffler who made, at about the same date, a beaker with enamel sleeve painted with chinoiserie figures of very similar form to the present example (L. Seelig, Silber und Gold, Augsburger Goldschmiedekunst fr die Hfe Europas, Munich 1994, cat. nos, 120 and 109 respectively).
Elias Adam made a number of pieces incorporating mail de Saxe of which two beakers are extremely close to the present example. The enamel decoration on all three beakers would appear to be by the same hand and almost certainly taken from the same print source. One beaker of 1731-1733 is in the Historical Museum, Moscow, (illustrated in H. Seling, Die Kunst der Augsburger Goldschmiede, 1529-1868, Munich, 1980, vol I pl. XXVIII). The other beaker, which may well have been designed as a pair to the present example, was sold by Christie's Geneva (14 November 1972, lot 223), and is now in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection (illustrated in Christie's Review of the Year 1993, London, 1993, p. 242 and H. Mller, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, European Silver, London, 1986, pp. 228 -230, cat. no. 72).