A modicum of post-festive controversy with today’s offering, as the original ‘gift’ in our source book – Mirth Without Mischief – has by and large been supplanted in recent years . Nine Ladies Dancing now seems to be very much in vogue for the day in question but, of course, we are remaining loyal to the 18th century original, and thus today requires a drummer drumming to take centre stage.


If nothing else, therefore, we need a particularly worthwhile article to exemplify the gift in question, and there can be few more finely-executed works than a piece of mid 18th century Meissen porcelain.


And so to Lower Saxony (present day Germany) and the Margraviate of Meissen, around the year 1750. Accomplished modeller and sculptor Peter Reinicke reclines on the banks of the River Elbe pondering on the next project he should undertake to fulfil his obligations to the Königlich-Polnische und Kurfürstlich-Sächsische Porzellan-Manufaktur, whilst leafing through a sheaf of papers containing a series of studies printed by Anne Claude Philippe de Tubières, comte de Caylus, from originals by Edme Bouchardon – as you would. This extensive collection of prints was created to show “the common people” of Paris going about their daily business; Reinicke was to choose several of the sixty illustrations to use as the basis for figurines.


For our purpose, we turn to one entitled ‘Le Provençal’ – a soldier of Provence, in South Eastern France. Striking a suitably martial pose, our man has a fipple pipe and a singularly impressive drum – just the job !


Anyway, Reinicke set to work interpreting the original engraving as a piece of sculpture, adding practical touches to ensure that his creation would be sturdy enough to endure for a reasonable amount of time; the drum, for instance hangs from a single strap in the original, but rests against a tree stump – as does the soldier himself - on the three dimensional version. Tree stumps and other greenery were often used as ‘props’ for figures in porcelain compositions, so much so that the term ‘bocage’ was adopted for such vegetative embellishments.


Other than this addition, though, Reinicke’s work is a faithful reproduction of Bourchardon’s sketch - from the stud on the tricorn hat to the buckles on the soldier’s shoes, the ruffles on his shirtsleeves to the buttons on his coat and the rope trimmings on the drum. This attention to detail and the accuracy of the rendering of the drawing as a fully-fledged sculpture really is most impressive – far more so that the more modern interpretation of the same basic figure again from Meissen factory, but dating to the mid 1930’s, and which has veered down the route of almost comic pastiche rather than historical accuracy…

As you're here, why not take advantage of our Christmas Sale – select anything you want on the entire store, and use the code TWELVEDAYS in the shopping cart to get 12% off the marked price – the promotion runs until January 6th, so take your time and browse through the very many items we have listed.

The Hoard Limited ( ) © 2023 | Designed by Jarilo Design