A figure Group of two dancers, Qianlong, circa 1750-1752. Dutch Market. Height 6-1/8" (15.5 cm).
A fine and rare figural group of two dancers modeled after a Meissen original and brightly enameled in famille rose, the man with yellow hat, blue waistcoat and red breeches, the woman with red waistcoat, and skirt with purple flowers, the base with modeled flowers scattered between their feet.
This model was first made by Johann Friedrich Eberlein in 1735 for Meissen and was reworked by Johann Joachim Kandler and listed in his Taxa of 1743 as "Harlequin and a maiden doing a Polish dance, possibly the Mazurka." It was a very popular group and was copied by Bow, Chelsea, and Derby. This is the finest of export figures modeled after European groups and very few examples are known, each having slightly different decoration to the clothing of the figures. When the wreck of the VOC ship Geldermalsen was salvaged in 1985, five damaged examples were recovered though they were white, having lost their enamels due to the corrosion of the seawater. The ship sank in 1752 so a date for these pieces can be proposed with reasonable accuracy.
Similar examples are in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.