This service was commissioned in 1761 by Frederick The Great during his occupation of Dresden as a gift for the Prussian Field Marshall, General Heinrich von Möllendorff, from whom it takes its name. An original bill, dated 7th April 1761, still survives and records the cost of the service as 9,412 Thalers. A further order was placed for dessert plates in November 1762, and it is not known exactly how many pieces were in the original service.
Although the dessert-plates have pierced panels molded with flowers, the majority of the service was molded with panels of flowers and musical instruments, or preussisch-musikalische Dessin, which were reputedly designed by Frederick in consultation with the Meissen worker Karl Jakob Christian Klipfel (also a talented musician).
A large group of pieces forming the dessert service and the plats de ménage appeared in the H.J. King Collection sale, Christie's London, 5 May 1914, were unsold and offered again on 17th February 1917 and bought by the Victoria and Albert Museum. For a detailed discussion of the original commission and its history, see The Property of a New York Collector, Christie's, New York, 24-25 October 1994, lots 197-214.