A Berlin KPM porcelain plate with a motif from Lalla Rûkh

A Berlin KPM porcelain plate with a motif from Lalla Rûkh

Model no. 1054. Depicting an Indian ruler with a servant on a balcony by the sea within a gilt edged cartouche, a drapery motif around the edge. Blue sceptre mark, impressed 25, incised III. D 24.1 cm.

“This plate documents one of the most enchanting celebrations held at the Prussian court in the entire nineteenth century, fully described in a surviving printed and illustrated report. On January 27, 1821, the visit of Prince Nicholas, the heir to the Russian throne, and his spouse, Princess Alexandra Feodorovna, née Princess Charlotte of Prussia, and a daughter of Frederick William III, offered the occasion to transform an enfilade of the royal palace in Berlin into an exotic fairy tale world. Inspired by Thomas Moore's narrative poem “Lalla Rûkh”, members of the court and their guests organized a pageant revolving around the main characters of the story. The highpoint was a series of “tableaux vivants” with a recitation of this Indian love story to the accompaniment of music. Karl Friedrich Schinkel was responsible for the decoration and two works from the private royal library provided the sources for the costumes. The report on the celebration includes not only explanations of the contents, the order and the way in which the theme was presented, the contents of the programme brochure, the illustrations of the figures and the pageant, but also a list of the players. The real hierarchy existing among the participants was reflected in the way in which the various roles were allotted. While the court nobles played the dancers, cavaliers, and ladies, the royal princes and princesses took the roles of the children of the Indian ruler Aurengzeb. The two main roles, King Aliris of Bucharei, and Lalla Rûkh the daughter of Aurengzeb, were played by the royal persons of the celebration, the Russian royal couple. 186 persons took part in the pageant, sixteen people played the different roles in the tableaux vivants, and the report mentions that there were no fewer than 4000 spectators. At the end of the event all were invited to restore their strength at a dinner or buffet. After this celebration, the king commissioned the KPM to produce an entire series of porcelain with the appropriate motifs. These were sent to the participants who had come from abroad as a commemoration of this event.” (p. 403)
We would like to thank Dr. Samuel Wittwer for kindly allowing us to print this extract from the catalogue "Refinement & Elegance".


Koller Zürich, 19th June 2006, lot 1784.


Wittwer (ed.), Raffinesse & Eleganz, Munich 2007, no. 136.


Raffinesse & Eleganz - Königliche Porzellane des frühen 19. Jahrhunderts aus einer amerikanischen Privatsammlung, Berlin, Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten, Schloss Charlottenburg, 28th July - 4th November 2007
Die Sammlung Cohen. Porzellane der grossen Manufakturen 1800 - 1840. Wien, Liechtenstein Museum, 16th November 2007 - 11th February 2008
Refinement & Elegance - Early 19th-Century Royal Porcelain from an American private collection, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 9th September 2008 - 19th April 2009

Lot 153 Dα

3.000 € - 4.000 €

4.500 €