Candelabrum for the Sulkowsky Service


Johann Joachim Kaendler ( German, 1706 - 1775 )


Meissen Porcelain Factory ( German, 1710 )

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General Description

This breathtaking feat of ceramic design, monumental in the history of open porcelain, is credited to sculptor Johann Joachim Käendler, a master modeler at Meissen Porcelain Factory from 1733 to his death in 1775. Originally, it was one of a group of twelve identical candelabra, part of the celebrated Sulkowsky Service, as indicated by the coats of arms of both Sulkowsky and his wife, Marie Anne Franziska von Stain (1712-1741). Count Alexander Josef Sulkowsky (1695-1762) first became familiar with fine porcelain in his role as overseer of porcelain deliveries to the Japanese Palace in Potsdam. When he commissioned the service from Meissen in 1736, it was the first large-scale private armorial service ever designed to order.

The candelabra of the Sulkowsky Service are exceptional for their scale and complexity. Modeling dominates, with enameling and giltwork added only for embellishment. The elaborate draped figure sits on a stepped base with putti supporting rococo shields, each bearing coats of arms. The figure grasps a cornucopia, symbolizing nature's bounty, and holds luxuriant branches that end in candle cups. Touches of giltwork emphasize the object's brilliant white color and sense of movement over its surface. The service so impressed other German nobles that they quickly ordered similar personalized sets. Other examples of this model were made for Count Johann Christian von Henicke (c. 1738) and for Prince Joseph Wenzel of Liechtenstein (c. 1737-40). The mate to this particular example, the only other known in the United States, is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Adapted from

  • Kevin W. Tucker, DMA unpublished material, Label text [1992.5.FA], 2004.

  • Bonnie Pitman, ed., Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012), 162.

  • Douglas Hawes, "Candelabrum for the Sulkowsky service," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Charles Venable (New Haven, NJ: Yale University Press, 1997), 91.

  • Charles Venable, DMA unpublished material, Museum of Europe Label Text, 1993.

Web Resources

MET museum
See the mate to this particular example, the only other known in the United States.