Skip to main content
  • Want more images or videos?
    Request additional images or videos from the seller
1 of 21

Magnificent and Rare 19th Century Life-Sized Meissen Porcelain, Turkey



A magnificent and rare life-sized 19th century Meissen Porcelain figure of a Turkey. This is truly an exceptional piece. The figurine has been outstandingly hand carved and sculpted to take on the exact life-size dimensions of a turkey. Beautifully hand painted, each portion is exquisitely life-like in appearance. Multicolored hues of layered blue, white, pink, green and red make up the top portion of the head crown, while the snood and major caruncles are hand painted with variable hues of reds, pinks, and whites. The back and body feathers are a beautiful light brown, with the tips of each feather protruding upwards towards the tail feathers having a dark brown pattern, to aid in differentiating where the feathers start and end. The breast feathers were designed with three layers; the top layer of feathers are a very light mixture of brown and grey, lightly brush stroked as to depict soft down-like feather, while the second and third layers of feathers are a dark brown and shimmering grey, respectively. The predominant and quite magnificent tail coverts and tail feathers are magnificently hand carved and hand painted, both in the front of the turkey and are equally as impressive in the back. Each feather is realistically made and hand painted with cream rachis and soft brown panning feathers. Moving from the quill, or bottom portion of the feather, upwards the color becomes a deep brown beautifully demonstrating the exceptional eye for detail established for each design standards Meissen has for their figurines. The legs are designed with sharp talons and an interconnected stitching of grey and brown. The turkey of standing on a grassy plane, which includes shrubbery and delicate spring soft grasses. The bottom is further adorned with 24-karat gilt brushed decoration, further enhancing this museum quality beauty. Porcelain of this size and shape is exceptionally difficult to produce, because as these variables increase, the likelihood of cracking or breaking increases significantly. Having the Meissen Blue Cross Swords Mark in Underglaze blue; Germany, circa 1860. Dimensions include: Height 27 in. Width 21 in. Depth 15.5 in.


Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: New York, NY
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 1 day of delivery.

1stDibs Buyer Protection Guaranteed
If your item arrives not as described, we’ll work with you and the seller to make it right. Learn more

About Meissen Porcelain (Manufacturer)

Meissen Porcelain (Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen) is one of the preeminent porcelain factories in Europe and was the first to produce true porcelain outside of Asia. It was established in 1710 under the auspices of King Augustus II “the Strong” of Saxony-Poland (1670–1733), a keen collector of Asian ceramics, particularly Ming porcelain. In pursuing his passion, which he termed his “maladie de porcelaine,” Augustus spent vast sums, amassing some 20,000 pieces of Japanese and Chinese ceramics. These, along with examples of early Meissen, comprise the Porzellansammlung, or porcelain collection, of the Zwinger Palace, in Dresden.

The king was determined, however, to free the European market from its dependence on Asian imports and to give European artisans the freedom to create their own porcelain designs. To this end, he charged the scientist Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and aspiring alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger with the task of using local materials to produce true, hard-paste porcelain (as opposed to the soft-paste variety European ceramists in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and Spain had been producing since the late Renaissance). In 1709, the pair succeeded in doing just that, employing kaolin, or “china clay.” A year later, the Meissen factory was born.

In its first decades, Meissen mostly looked to Asian models, producing wares based on Japanese Kakiemon ceramics and pieces with Chinese-inflected decorations, called chinoiseries. During the 1720s its painters drew inspiration from the works of Watteau, and the scenes of courtly life, fruits and flowers that adorned fashionable textiles and wallpaper. It was in this period that Meissen introduced its famous cobalt-blue crossed swords logo—derived from the arms of the Elector of Saxony as Arch-Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire—to distinguish its products from those of competing factories that were beginning to spring up around Europe.

By the 1730s, Meissen’s modelers and decorators had mastered the style of Asian ceramics, and Augustus encouraged them to develop a new, original aesthetic. The factory’s director, Count Heinrich von Brühl, used Johann Wilhelm Weinmann’s botanical drawings as the basis for a new line of wares with European-style surface decoration. The Blue Onion pattern (Zwiebelmuster), first produced in 1739, melded Asian and European influences, closely following patterns used in Chinese underglaze-blue porcelain, but replacing exotic flora and fruits with Western varieties (likely peaches and pomegranates, not onions) along with peonies and asters.

During the same period, head modeler Joachim Kändler (1706–75) began crafting delicate porcelain figures derived from the Italian commedia dell’arte. Often used as centerpieces on banquet tables and decorated to reflect the latest fashions in courtly dress for men and women, these figurines, they were popular in their day, and are still considered among of Meissen’s most iconic creations. Kändler also created the Swan Service, which, with its complex low-relief surface design and minimal decoration is considered a masterpiece of Baroque ceramics.

The rise of Neoclassicism in the latter half of the 18th century forced Meissen to change artistic direction and begin producing monumental vases, clocks, chandeliers and candelabra. In the 20th century, Meissen added to its 18th-century repertoire decidedly modern designs, including ones in the Art Nouveau style. The 1920s saw the introduction of numerous animal figures, such as the popular sea otter (Fischotter), which graced an East German postage stamp in the 1960s. Starting in 1933, artistic freedom was limited at the factory under the Nazi regime, and after World War II, when the region became part of East Germany, it struggled to reconcile its elite past with the values of the Communist government. In 1969, however, new artistic director Karl Petermann reintroduced the early designs and fostered a new degree of artistic license. Meissen became one of the few companies to prosper in East Germany.

Owned by the State of Saxony since reunification, in 1990, Meissen continues to produce its classic designs together with new ones developed collaboratively with artists from all over the world. In addition, through its artCAMPUS program, the factory has invited distinguished ceramic artists, such as Chris Antemann and Arlene Shechet, to work in its studios in collaboration with its skilled modelers and painters. The resulting works of contemporary sculpture are inspired by Meissen’s rich and complex legacy.

About the Seller
4.8 / 5
Located in New York, NY
Gold Seller
These expertly vetted sellers are highly rated and consistently exceed customer expectations.
Established in 1820
1stDibs seller since 2011
60 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 2 hours
More From This Seller

You May Also Like

Pair of 19th Century Meissen Style Porcelain Parrots
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Essex, MA
Pair of large porcelain Meissen style amazon parrots --Realistically modeled perched on tree with fruits and leaves --Each bear an underglaze blue cypher --Beautifully colored f...

Antique Late 19th Century German Neoclassical Animal Sculptures



19th Century Meissen Birdcage Grouping
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
19th century Meissen Birdcage grouping, an unusual grouping, the double figure with a lady of the court holding a dog and a gentleman holding his hat in a interior with a birdcage on...

Antique Late 19th Century German Porcelain



Early 19th Century Meissen Dog
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Kilmarnock, VA
An early 19th century Meissen King Charles Spaniel resting on a colorful tasseled cushion. The base of the piece shows evidence of extensive damage and old, poorly done repairs.

Antique 19th Century German Animal Sculptures


Paint, Porcelain

Meissen Porcelain Pot-Pourri Vase, Germany, 19th Century
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires
Meissen porcelain pot-pourri vase, Germany, 19th century.

Antique Late 19th Century German Rococo Vases



Meissen Porcelain Revelry Groups
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in New Orleans, LA
This charming pair of Meissen porcelain figures celebrates the essence of Revelry. First modeled by the renowned Johann Joachim Kändler on bases by Peter Reinicke, circa 1767, these ...

Antique Late 19th Century French Rococo Figurative Sculptures



Meissen Porcelain Bowl Painted with Birds and Insects, 19th Century
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire
A very fine and large German Meissen porcelain bowl of shallow rounded form finely hand painted with birds and insects including a moth and butterfly dating from the 19th century. Th...

Antique Late 19th Century German Rococo Porcelain



19th Century Meissen Grouping of Two Boys with Rooster and Cage
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Atlanta, GA
19th century Meissen grouping of two boys with rooster and cage, remarkable condition, all fingers and toes intact no major damage observed.

Antique Late 19th Century German Figurative Sculptures



Mid-18th Century Meissen Porcelain Bacchus Figurine
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Brescia, IT
This fine piece of porcelain is a little Meissen masterpiece. Bacchus evoque the joy of life. Perfect in every parts. Marked on the bottom With certificate of authenticity.

Antique Mid-18th Century German Baroque Figurative Sculptures



The 1stDibs Promise

Learn More

Expertly Vetted Sellers

Confidence at Checkout

Price-Match Guarantee

Exceptional Support

Buyer Protection

Insured Global Delivery