Part Two of the Hoffmeister Collection Auction at Bonhams

In the 300th anniversary year of the founding of the Meissen factory – Europe’s first porcelain factory – Bonhams is proud to announce the much-anticipated sale of ‘The Hoffmeister Collection of Meissen Porcelain Part II’ at 10.30am on 26th May 2010 at 101 New Bond Street, London. This follows on from the great success of Part I of the sale which made £1,097,100 in November 2009.

The Hoffmeisters assembled the greatest collection in the world of highly important Meissen armorial porcelain. An important group of armorials is formed by pieces presented to Italian aristocrats by the Crown Prince of Saxony, Friedrich Christian, grandson of Augustus the Strong, owner and founder of the Meissen factory. In 1738 Friedrich, aged 16, accompanied his sister Maria Amalia (aged 14) to Naples for her marriage to the crown prince of Naples, later Carlos III of Spain. Friedrich Christian continued to travel around Italy on his Grand Tour between 1738 and 1740, when regular shipments of Meissen porcelain were sent to serve as gifts for his hosts. This sale features a cup and saucer from a service presented in 1743 to Pope Benedict XIV (born Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini), by Friedrich Christian’s father, Augustus III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. The lot is estimated at £6,000-8,000.

Many of the pieces included in the collection boast such a prestigious provenance – diplomatic gifts between European princes that passed between some of the most colourful characters of the époque. As a result Part I of the sale saw enthusiastic bidding from private collectors, museums and dealers from around the world. Among the successful buyers was the Duke of Northumberland, who was able to acquire a plate from the celebrated Hanbury-Williams / Duke of Northumberland Service, which will be reunited with the rest of the service at Alnwick Castle. A Meissen cup and saucer from the Querini service has returned to the Fondazione Querini Stampaglia in Venice.

Another outstanding highlight of the sale coming up is an important Meissen circular stand c.1725-30 with exquisite chinoiserie decoration. Formerly in the renowned pre-War collection of Erich von Goldschmidt-Rothschild it is estimated at £100,000-150,000. The provenance of many other pieces is equally distinguished, with examples from famous historic collections, such as the Royal collections of Saxony, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Russia and Baden.

The Hoffmeister Collection shows the quality and variety of the oldest porcelain manufacturer in Europe – it provides a survey of the first 50 years of the manufactory’s existence, when Meissen dominated the taste for porcelain across Europe. This world famous collection was assembled over 40 years by two German brothers with a passion for this rare 18th century porcelain, and includes the largest and most important group of 18th century Meissen armorial porcelain anywhere in the world. For the past ten years it has been on show at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg. Part II of the collection includes examples of all the early styles of decoration, including copies of Asian prototypes, chinoiserie decoration, European landscape and botanical subjects and armorial porcelain.