V&A Search the Collections


  • Place of origin:

    Höchst (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1750-55 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Höchst porcelain factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hard-paste porcelain, painted in enamels and gilt

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs O. J. Finney in memory of Oswald James Finney

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 139, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case R, shelf 3

  • Public access description

    The Commedia dell’Arte, was a form of improvised street theatre, which spread from16th-century Italy throughout Europe, and remained popular for around two centuries. Commedia dell'Arte troupes engaged in very physical acting using music, dance and acrobatics in their performances. While the plot was largely improvised, stock characters were used and were recognisable to the audience by their costumes, accents and poses. The popularity of this theatre form inspired paintings and decorative objects depicting the commedia characters.

    The Commedia dell’Arte figures produced at Höchst porcelain factory were, like those made at Fürstenberg, inspired by the engravings of Johann Jacob Wolrab produced in Nuremberg around 1720. Pierrot was a naive character in the Commedia dell’Arte who loses his love interest Columbine to Harlequin. While this figure is attired in colourful clothing, wearing trousers more typical of Harlequin, Pierrot is more often portrayed entirely dressed in white with a white powdered face.

  • Physical description

    Figure of Pierrot, of hard-paste porcelain. Bent-kneed figure standing on a gilt edged plinth against a tree stump. Pierrot is leaning slightly backwards. He is wearing a black hat with the brim upturned, his face decorated with patches, a white ruffled collar and a turquoise jacket with gilt edging. His trousers are lozenge-patterned red, white and blue (the left leg) and with playing cards on a yellow ground (the right leg). He has grey red-heeled shoes.

  • Marks and inscriptions

    'I E'


  • Dimensions

    Height: 17.8 cm, Diameter: 8.1 cm

  • Descriptive line

    Figure of Pierrot, hard-paste porcelain painted in enamels and gilt, made by Höchst porcelain factory, Germany, ca. 1750-55

  • Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

    Lang, Arthur "The engraved sources of Feilner's Höchst and Fürstenberg Comedians." in Keramik-Freunde der Schweiz. nr. 51, July 1900, pp. 21-22.

  • Collection code

    Ceramics Collection