One of a pair of large Nymphenburg porcelain dishes from the Hofservice – £130,000 at Bonhams.

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A previously unrecorded pair of large circular dishes from the Hofservice, c.1760-65, were part of the 20-lot tranche of 18th century European porcelain from the celebrated collection formed by the German-born, Argentine heiress Catalina von Pannwitz, nee Roth (1876-1959).

They multiplied the pre-sale estimate of £20,000-30,000 to sell for £130,000.

Von Pannwitz, the second wife of the German lawyer and art collector Walter von Pannwitz (1858-1920), displayed her magnificent collection of porcelain by leading German and French factories at De Hartekamp, a stately home in Heemstede.

These dishes, measuring 16½in (41cm) and 17in (42cm) across, are from a service thought to have been made for the court of the Maximillian III Joseph of Bavaria (1727-77).

Both are superbly painted with a large flower spray and further scattered blooms, as well as butterflies, moths, beetles, a grasshopper and a caterpillar.


Detail from a pair of large Nymphenburg porcelain dishes from the Hofservice – £130,000 at Bonhams.

Lavish decoration

The artist of these pieces is probably Joseph Zächenberger (1732-1802) whose signature is recorded on a Nymphenburg jar with this type of decoration.

He worked at the factory as a flower painter from 1760-70 and is subsequently recorded as a mural and ceiling painter at the Tattenbach Palace in Munich.

A discussion of this lavish style of decoration is provided by Alfred Ziffer in his factory history Nymphenburger Porzellan Sammlung Bäuml (1997).

Ziffer differentiates between the large, dark-toned flower bouquets, such as these, and other pieces painted with rather looser arrangements of flowers in a paler palette. It is possible that the latter represent a later delivery from the factory.

A pair of smaller 12in (30cm) oval dishes from the Hofservice sold at a more modest £10,000 with a single 9in (27cm) plate selling at £5000.

The Catalina von Pannwitz collection was also the source of the pair of Meissen coral-ground chinoiserie vases sold for a record £660,000 as reported in ATG No 2574.