Stoneware; H. 4 7/16 in. (11.3 cm)
The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982 (1982.60.318)
This diminutive stoneware figure depicts Augustus II of Saxony, commonly known as Augustus the Strong. A voracious collector of Asian ceramics, Augustus' interest in porcelain provided the impetus for the founding of the Meissen factory just outside of Dresden, the capital of Saxony. Augustus remained the driving force behind the factory until his death in 1733, acquiring vast quantities of the wares and figures produced by Europe's first true porcelain factory.
In its attempts to manufacture true or hard-paste porcelain, the Meissen factory first produced a red stoneware. While stoneware is a very different ceramic body than porcelain, its manufacture involved technological advances that would lead to an understanding of how to produce porcelain. Johann Friedrich Böttger is credited with discovering the techniques of making both stoneware and porcelain at Meissen, and the hard, red stoneware used for this figure is usually referred to as Böttger stoneware.