Meissen group of Two Freemasons, £12,500 at Reeman Dansie.

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Estimated at £700-1000 and in generally good condition, it sold for £12,500 on April 30.

While this group stands a little apart from the more familiar Meissen models of fashionable lovers and characters from the commedia dell’arte, it was equally topical.

In 1738, when Freemasonry was banned by the Pope as a threat to Catholicism, Augustus the Strong had opened a fraternal lodge in Dresden.

Modelled by Johann Joachim Kändler in 1744 (a reworking of an earlier version by Johann Friedrich Eberlein), this group depicts two German courtiers wearing white aprons as they engage in a secretive dialogue. The emblems of a compass, globe, plumb bob, trowel and an attendant pug were all understood as Masonic symbols in the mid-18th century. The figure is more typically seen with polychrome decoration.

Suffolk ceramics

Around 30 years after Meissen had perfected porcelain figure making, a fledgling factory in Suffolk was attempting to emulate some of its success.

Most of the Lowestoft factory’s output was focused on tea wares and other utility pieces.

However, moulds and sherds for several 7½in (18cm) figures of musicians were found during excavations on the factory site.

In his book on Lowestoft, ceramics expert Geoffrey Godden identified two distinct but related groups of figures, attributable to the factory.

Those left in the white with distinctive four- or six-scroll bases belong to the group that, he speculated, could be the earlier of the two, c.1770, with some enamelled figures produced a decade or so later. Back in 2017, a pair sold for £4000 at Keys in Aylsham.


Pair of Lowestoft figures of a lute player and a piper, £1200 at Reeman Dansie.

Three of these rare white-glazed musicians were offered by Reeman Dansie in two lots.

Sold at £1200 was a lot coupling a male piper on a six-scroll pedestal base (some damage and losses) with a slender female lute plater on a four-scroll base (missing an arm and her instrument). A single figure of the lute player in better condition (but again with losses) took £1100.


Lowestoft polychrome enamel figure of a fiddler, £1200 at Reeman Dansie.

A figure of the type that Godden dated to the following decade made £1200. This polychrome enamelled fiddler in a tricorn hat again had some losses, including his violin and a left hand.