The factory had a troubled history and was plagued by poor management and financial difficulties which led to several changes of ownership. Laurentius Russinger, who had joined the enterprise as an apprentice in 1754, soon became the senior modeller and made a major contribution to a period of relative success.
He was responsible for several of the company’s most famous designs, among them this 10in (25cm) high group Herbst (autumn) formed as a Rococo couple in a bower laden with grapes, which is being offered by Metz in Heidelberg on December 14 with an estimate of €10,000. The group was executed c.1770.
Soon afterwards, Russinger left Höchst and moved to Paris where he continued his successful career as a modeller. His previous employer ceased production in 1796. In 1947, however, the factory was brought back to life and is still trading today.
Along with many other lots in the sale, the Herbst group comes from the estate of the American collector Marjorie Eichenlaub West, who died in 2016.