Here is a large-sized antique porcelain bowl with hand-painted decoration in blue of two children engaged in playing lacrosse (or, depending on your perspective, hockey or golf). The Meissen pattern, known as the “Kinder a la Raphael” (Children in the style of Raphael) is first mentioned in the Meissen price list of 1765, and it was produced until about 1799. An oval platter with this identical scene is in the Hans Syz Collection of the Smithsonian Institution. The design was an attempt to begin changing the direction of Meissen’s output more toward the neoclassical subjects that increasingly came into favor during the second half of the eighteenth century. The pattern is described in the book "Meissen's Blue and White Porcelain" published in 2006 by Schiffer. This particular example carries a very well-known but hard to find version of the engraving that I also show, from the British Museum’s collection. Meissen’s Kinder à la Raphael were designed after the work of Jacques Stella, Les Jeux et Plaisirs de l'Enfance (The Joys and Pleasures of Childhood) published in Paris in 1657. In this image the two children play a game of field hockey or lacrosse. The text reads:

Malgre le temps et la saison
Ceux cy sortent de la maison
Et s’en vont crosser par caprice.
Et la chacun pour le degot
S’eschauffe, et dans cet exercice
La crosse leur vaut un fagot.

I took a crack at translating this and came up with this:

No matter the weather or season,
The children rush out on the field
And play with their sticks for no reason.
As everyone fights toward the goal
The men of lacrosse never yield.
It warms them much better than coal!

Perhaps it’s obvious that I haven’t studied French since college! The reverse is marked with the early Meissen crossed swords and the letter L in blue, so the painting may be the work of David Benjamin Lindner (1730-1797) who is recorded as painting tureens with “blue children” (blauen Kindern) in 1765. Nowadays people prefer to think that the children are golfers and are trying a few practice swings, but the original engraving makes clear that lacrosse is the sport in question. The bowl is eleven and a half inches across, one and three-quarters inches high, and is in perfect condition.

A warm welcome! Please consider all our offerings, and feel free to inquire about more information. We’re always buying, so let us know if you have early porcelain items to sell.
Germany • German

Laureate Antiques

18thc. Meissen Bowl with Children Playing Lacrosse C.1770


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