Austrian; Vienna, du Paquier period
Hard–paste porcelain; H. with cover 15 9/16 in. (39.5 cm), H. without cover 11 in. (27.9 cm)
Gift of Irwin Untermyer, 1964 (64.101.269a–d)
This tall vessel, with a cover and liner, is one of the more ambitious pieces of porcelain made at the du Paquier factory. With its complex, architectural form, low-relief sculptural decoration, and openwork base, the vessel represents a great technical accomplishment for the young porcelain factory.
Its intended function is not clear, however. The vessel is fitted with an interior porcelain liner that echoes the shape of the vessel, acting as a sort of sleeve but without a base. It is possible that the liner was intended to hold a further liner, probably made of metal. This second liner might have contained hot food that could have been kept warm by means of a small oil-burning lamp placed under the liner inside the base of the vessel. The openwork trellis at the base would have allowed a flow of air to keep the flame burning. The cover of the vessel would have helped keep the contents warm.
As the porcelain liner is elaborately painted with flowers, one may assume that it was intended to be seen, indicating that both the porcelain liner and the metal liner within would have been removed from the vessel when the food was to be consumed.