Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Ice cream pail (one of a pair)

Meissen Manufactory (German, 1710–present)
porcelain ca. 1730, mounts ca. 1780–90
German (Meissen) with Italian (Rome) mounts
Hard-paste porcelain, gilt bronze
Overall (confirmed): 12 11/16 × 9 7/8 × 8 3/4 in. (32.2 × 25.1 × 22.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 2013
Accession Number:
2013.139.1a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 533
Originally made to contain ice cream, these tall covered jars were produced at the Meissen factory in about 1730. Incised inventory marks indicate that they were originally part of the Saxon royal collections housed in the Japanese Palace in Dresden, where the enormous holdings of both Asian and Meissen porcelain owned by Augustus the Strong were displayed. Archival documents suggest that these jars were removed from the Japanese Palace and combined with similarly decorated Meissen porcelain to form a dinner service that was presented as a gift to Sir Thomas Robinson (1695–1770), a British diplomat who visited Dresden in 1737.

Towards the end of the 18th century, the jars were fitted with gilt-bronze mounts which necessitated removing the porcelain handles, thus altering their appearance and function. A surviving drawing for the mounts indicates that they were produced in the workshop of Luigi Valadier (1726–1785), the leading goldsmith and jeweler in Rome in the late eighteenth century.
Marking: Painted on base of pail in underglaze blue enamel: crossed swords (factory mark); incised on base of pail, partially filled with black pigment: N = 172. over a W (Japanese Palace inventory number)
Augustus II, Elector of Saxony ; Sir Thomas Robinson ; [ Stiebel Ltd. , until 1958; sold to Wrightsman ] ; Charles and Jayne Wrightsman , New York (from 1958) ; Mrs. Charles Wrightsman , New York (1958–2013; to MMA)
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