Duos in the Dining Room: Paired Meissen Figures at Kykuit

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  • Two porcelain sculptures of green parakeets, on porcelain perches that look like trees.
    Johann Joachim Kändler (German, 1706-1775), Indian ring-necked parakeets, ca. 1741
    Hard-paste porcelain, Meissen Manufactory, Germany. Kykuit, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Nelson A. Rockefeller Bequest (Photo by Andy Romer)

In this recorded presentation, Katrina London, manager of collections and curatorial projects at The Pocantico Center, discusses the history of the pendant pairs of Meissen porcelain at Kykuit.

Founded in 1710 near Dresden, Germany, Meissen was the first European manufactory to produce hard-paste porcelain, which was previously only available in Asia, and quickly became the leading producer of figurative porcelain sculpture. Meissen's figures have played an important role in interior decoration from the eighteenth century to the present and were collected by several members of the Rockefeller family, including Nelson A. Rockefeller (1908-1979) who displayed them in Kykuit’s dining room. The pieces remaining there today include a flock of birds in various sizes and colors, ranging from monochrome vultures to brightly-painted parakeets.