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D2034. Pair of Polychrome Oval Butter Tubs and Recumbent Stag Covers
Delft, circa 1770
Each cover surmounted by a stag with a light brown hide, blue eyes, nostrils and mouth, and dark brown antlers, modeled at lodge amidst green plants, the oval tureen naturalistically molded with blue-delineated green grasses, leafage and iron-red flowering plants around a yellow, iron-red and blue floral device on either side.
Heights: 15.5 cm. (6.1 in.)
Aronson Antiquairs, Amsterdam, 2002;
The Van der Vorm Collection, The Netherlands
Deer, among the most common inhabitants of wooded areas throughout Europe, Western and Central Asia and North America, were the most popular game during the heyday of hunting, known as the Age of Absolutism. Hunting, as an important element of the officium nobile, the courtly ceremonial, was the passion and privilege of the nobility, and beyond its original function of providing alimentation, it served as entertainment as well as an indicator of status.
During the eighteenth century, tureens in the form of animals, figures, and groups of sportsmen were often displayed alongside whole table services, such as the costly zoomorphic designs. These elaborate wares were mostly used at special occasions at the beginning of the hunting season. Further, entire services decorated with hunting motifs were produced for grand dinners celebrating the hunt. At Meissen, Kändler modeled entire hunting parties in porcelain, which would have adorned the table of a themed dinner, probably after a successful day of hunting when a roast venison or roast wild boar was the feature of a banquet (see Ulrich Pietsch,“Porzellan und Jagd – Die Leidenschaften der sächsischen Kurfürsten,” in: Porzellan Parforce, 2005, pp. 11-21). In keeping with the hunting theme and in the absence of the beast itself, Delftware tureens in the form of game, such as stags or wild boars, made eye-catching centerpieces on a dining table.
No other pair of similar model seems to be published in literature.