Meissen is a world renowned name in porcelain manufacture, producing works for royal houses across Europe since 1710. And now Bonhams is to feature a single-owner collection relating to the royal toilette, headlined by a rare bourdalou chamber pot.
Elaborate toilette displays were commonplace in 18th century Europe, particularly with courtiers keen to demonstrate their wealth and power within society. It was usual for these displays to take place in public, and being invited as a spectator was considered a privilege.
The bourdalou takes its name from the Jesuit priest Louis Bourdalou, who gave his sermons in the court of France's King Louis XIV. The preacher's sermons were said to be so captivating that the ladies present would use a chamber pot beneath their skirts, rather than leave the room for a minute.
The ornately decorated piece at Bonhams was produced circa 1724 by the Meissen factory in Dresden and is one of the most exquisite pieces of the Said and Roswitha Marouf Collection. It will sell at Bonhams' London showroom on December 5 with a £50,000-60,000 estimate.
Another highlight of this outstanding collection is an armorial chocolate beaker, which was presented to Princess Maria Amalia of Saxony as a wedding gift for her marriage to Charles VII, King of Naples.
The beaker, one of the last surviving pieces of the wedding present, would have formed part of her toilette, with the princess taking drinking chocolate during her breakfast. It is expected to bring £25,000-30,000.
A similar Meissen chocolate pot, along with a cover and stand, was given as a wedding gift to Queen Elizabeth II.
The Marouf Collection of Meissen porcelain is one of the world's most important and is well documented in Passion for Meissen, a respected publication on the factory's early 18th century products.