The Swan service was made for Count Brühl (1700-1763), the Prime Minister of Saxony and director of the Meissen factory from 1733-63. Brühl commissioned the service in 1737 on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Anna Franziska von Kolowrat-Krakowska. The moulded decoration was carried out by J.J. Kändler with the assistance of J.F. Eberlein. It would appear to be the largest service produced in the 18th century and Rainer Rückert (Meissen Porzellan 1710-1810, Munich, 1966, p. 118) estimates its original size to have been between 2,200 and 2,400 pieces. Kändler began work on the larger pieces for the service in the summer of 1737, when work on the large armorial service for Graf Alexander Joseph von Sulkowski was still not complete. As director of the factory, Brühl would have been more than aware of Sulkowski's commission, which at the time was the largest privately commissioned armorial service to date, and it is probable that Brühl intended to compete with Sulkowski, another of Augustus III's Cabinet Minister's. The service remained in the possession of the family until after the Second World War.
For the most recent research on this extraordinary triumph of the Meissen factory, see Schwanen Service, Meissener Porzellan für Heinrich Graf von Brühl, Exhibition Catalogue, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, 6 May - 13 August 2000.