Under the direction of Konrad Sörgel von Sorgenthal from 1784 until 1805, the Imperial Porcelain Factory of Vienna developed a unique style of decoration based on a rich new palette of colors (such as the café au lait ground used here) and improved methods of gilding. The simplified cylindrical shapes provided ideal surfaces for painting the large landscape views popular since the 1770s. Porcelain decorators, now trained in art academies, rivaled the finest painters of late eighteenth-century Europe. Decorating this tea set are miniature views of Pavlovsk Palace and park, the summer residence near Saint Petersburg of the Russian imperial family.
Manufacturer Vienna Porcelain Factory, Austrian
  • Tray
Date ca. 1804
Medium Hard-paste porcelain with polychrome decoration and gilding
Dimensions Overall: 1 1/4 × 16 1/4 × 13 1/16 inches (3.2 × 41.3 × 33.2 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase with funds from the Visiting Committee for European Sculpture and Decorative Arts
Accession Number 1988.69.1
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
On View Decorative Arts S350, Level 3 (see map)
Marks Marks, impressed: 801 [date cypher] P.
private collection (New York, New York, USA);
(art market, small antiques shop Atlanta, Georgia, USA);
Richard D. Pardue (Charlotte, North Carolina, USA);
(Armin B. Allen, Inc., London, England);
1988-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
"Selected recent acquisitions." Bulletin of the DIA 64, no. 4 (1989): p. 57, (ill.).

Odom, A. "Of Tea and Tragedy: The Story of a Viennese Tea and Coffee Set." Bulletin of the DIA 73, no. 1/2 (1999): pp. 30-41.

Sturm-Bednarczyck, E. and C. Jobst. Viennese Porcelain of the Neoclassical Period. The Conrad Von Sorgenthal Era 1784-1805. Vienna, 2000, p. 122.

Darr, A. and T. Albainy. "Acquisitions of European sculpture and decorative arts at the Detroit Institute of Arts, 1988 - 1999." The Burlington Magazine 142 (June 2000): p. 410, no. XVII (color ill.).

You, Yao-Fen. “From Novelty to Necessity: The Europeanization of Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate.” In Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate: Consuming the World, ed. Yao-Fen You, Mimi Hellman, and Hope Saska. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 2016, p. 33; 50 (ill.); 134, cat. 46.