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An extremely rare pair of Meissen figures of squirrels are to go under the hammer at Bellmans Auctioneers from 10am on Wednesday 26th March, carrying an estimated sale value of £8000-£12000. Modelled c.1750 by J. J. Kandler, these charming examples have been called “the highlight of the European Ceramics section of this month’s sale” by specialist Phillip Howell, in light of the rarity of seeing such items as a complete pair. The most famous of all porcelain modellers, Kandler was appointed as Court Sculptor to Augustus the Strong at the age of 24 in 1730, and produced his first models of squirrels in 1732. Such pieces were to decorate the tables at the German Royal Court’s glittering parties for years to come.
Seated on their haunches facing to the left and right, with iron-red fur and long bushy tails, one squirrel holds a nut in its paw, the other in its mouth. The oval mound bases are applied with flowers, and the bases feature indistinct blue crossed swords marks. These exquisite figures stand at 19.5cm and 22cm high.
J. J. Kandler first modelled a pair of squirrels in 1732, his work records for August that year listing: 'Zwei Eichhörnigen' (two squirrels) and in September 1733,'Ein kleines Eichhörnigen' (a small squirrel). For the model see C.Albiker, Die Meissener Porrzellantiere im 18 Jahrundert (1935), no.164. An example of the squirrel holding a nut from the Collection of Sir Gawaine and Lady Baillie, was sold at Sotheby's, London, 1st May, 2013, lot 76.
They will be sold as lot 60, and are open to view from midday on Friday 21st March until the morning of the sale. Online bidding is available via the-saleroom.com. For more information and to register your interest, please visit www.bellmans.co.uk, or alternatively contact Bellmans Auctioneers direct on 01403 700858.