A Berlin KPM porcelain vase with a depiction of the Battle of Vitoria

A Berlin KPM porcelain vase with a depiction of the Battle of Vitoria

Model described as "Vase glatt mit glattem gebogenem Henkel am Kessel". Fired in two parts and screw-mounted, the conforming base with gilt tendrils and upper face.
Decorated with a continuous panoramic depiction of the battle of Vitoria against a landscape backdrop. The neck, lower body, and base of the vase gilded and etched with foliate decor. The base with unusal decoration in imitation of red veined black marble. To the base blue sceptre mark, red dash, brown circle, impressed 38. H 51, D 35 cm, base 20.5 cm x 23 cm x 22.8 cm. H with base 71 cm.
Circa 1817.

Like the published vase from the gift of porcelain presented to the Duke of Wellington now kept at Apsley House, this vase, which remained unknown to research until 1994, also depicts the Battle of Vitoria in the Basque country. Central figure in the scene is the Duke of Wellington himself, shown giving orders from the back of a white stallion, and not a brown one as would be expected. His clothing is also unusually opulent. The manufactory was aware of Frederic Christian Lewis' aquatint etching showing the victory at Vitoria, as they include the detail of an officer falling from his horse on the back of the vase. However, at the time the vase was painted, they had no accurate sources for the uniforms worn at the battle. They only received this information in answer to a request from manufactory director Friedrich Philipp Rosenstiel to the Prussian General Field Marshall and war minister Hermann von Boyen in July 1818: “Drawings of the uniforms of the troops under the Duke's command are eagerly awaited” (Baer/Baer, p. 16).

The substantial order for the Duke of Wellington was preceded by numerous other personal gifts for deserving British citizens and members of the aristocracy, members of the “British court and ministers”, although none of these were quite as extensive as the order for the Duke. The archives at KPM mention orders for Earl Bathurst, the Marquis of Hertfort, Viscount and Lady Catlereagh, the Earl of Liverpool, Marquis Cholmondeley, Viscount Melville, the Duke of Montrose, the right honorable Vanhittard, Lady Elgin, one Mrs. Smith, Lieutenant=General Hammond, Doctor Mr. Cooke in Oxford, Earl Mulgrave, one Mr. Herris "Commis of the Goverment", but also for the Duke of Cumberland, the Archbishop of Canterbury, one Mr. Harrison and one Mr. Rothschild.
It is possible that alongside the Duke of Wellington, General Lieutenant Sir Thomas Graham or General Lieutenant Sir Rowland Hill also received gifts, perhaps even of the same vase. Both of these generals were commended alongside the Duke of Wellington for exceptional service at the Battle of Victoria by the Court of Council of the City of London on 12th July 1813. However, gaps in the KPM archives prior to 1818 mean that such orders have not been recorded.


Christie´s London, 5th December 1994, lot 304.
Christie´s London, 10th July 2014, lot 18.


For the vases from the Wellington order with panoramic views of the battles of Vitoria and Waterloo in Apsley House (inv. no. WM939-1948) cf. Baer/Baer, The Pussian Service. The Duke of Wellington´s Berlin Dinner Service, Berlin 1989, no. 13 f.
Cf. also Camden, History of the Present War in Spain and Portugal. From its Commencement to the Battle of Vittoria, London 1813, p. 509 f.

Lot 141 Dα

100.000 € - 150.000 €

212.500 €