Etagère with mirror
Gilded wood, glass, porcelain
As confirmed by the recent restoration, which made it possible to finally put together the various pieces in which the piece of furniture had been disassembled for some time, the wooden structure, carved with scrolls and floral motifs in a Rococo style, certainly dates back to the second half of the nineteenth century. , when the taste for the ornamental repertoire of the time of Louis XV had returned to meet great favor throughout Europe and especially in Russia. The porcelain elements, on the other hand, or at least certainly the figured supports of the shelves, were made in the Meissen factory in the early part of the eighteenth century. On one of the two, in fact, the “K.H.C” trademark was found, which seems to have been used to indicate the ownership and location of the pieces, in this specific case the “Königliche Hof Conditorey”, or the Royal Court pastry. As is known, the first European porcelain factory was founded in Meissen, near Dresden, by the will of Frederick Augustus, elector of Saxony and later king of Poland with the name of Augustus II. The characteristic logo with crossed swords in blue underpaint appears on the back of the medallions of the drawers, which depict gallant scenes inspired by the compositions of Antoine Watteau, alternating with smaller ones with groups of cupids. Due to the pictorial quality of the images, obtained by means of a delicate dotting, these decorations are compatible with a dating around the mid-18th century, when the revival, through prints, of inventions by French Rococo artists such as Watteau or Boucher was widely practiced in Meissen. In essence, it is clear that the piece of furniture was built in the nineteenth century with the specific intent of using these ancient porcelain elements, as confirmed by the fact that two of them were inserted, in a somewhat incongruous way, even in the frame of the mirror. While the oval plates are rather simple pieces reminiscent of those used as bottoms for boxes or snuffboxes, the six vertical elements may have originally belonged to some articulated tableware, to be precise to one of those surtouts, complicated multi-arm machines intended for supporting plates or trays of fruit or sweets, which in the eighteenth century were used as centerpieces. This hypothesis is confirmed by the trademark found on one of the pieces which, as we have seen, refers its destination to the real pastry shop.