Even the state’s most important figure has to take a break at some point. This must have been what the artist Luise Terletzki-Scherf thought when she designed this lion enjoying a stretch. It is playfully holding the Bavarian diamond escutcheon between its paws as though it were a food bowl to be filled. The only model in the lion series where this is the case, here the blue and white decoration also extends over the young animal. Despite the playfulness of the young animal, the artist succeeded in expressing its alertness and strength, which it needs as king of the jungle.
Admittedly, outside the Free State people were always somewhat skeptical of the Bavarians’ blend of tradition and modernity. Who else would choose a heraldic animal that sometimes sticks its tongue out at others? This posed no problem for the inhabitants of Bavaria. After all, Bavarians are not lacking in self-confidence. Neither is this just eight-centimetre-tall, muscular porcelain lion by Ernst Andreas Rauch. Incidentally, the lion’s tongue, stuck out at the observer over the blue and white escutcheon, is cast separately and subsequently attached to the animal’s majestic body.
Left or right? Not an issue in Bavaria! After all this is a Free State. So, it is left to the collector to decide whether he prefers this just eight-centimetre-tall porcelain lion with his left or his right paw raised. The design by Ernst Andreas Rauch from 1948 comes in both versions. The best option: take the pair! It shows both political and aesthetic class and that the collector has a sense of humour.
Around 1800 master sculptor Johann Peter Melchior created this small lion figurine. After just a short time the reclining lion was so popular that it was subsequently produced in different sizes, with and without a base, as a pure figurine or a paperweight. To this day, he and his benevolent-looking relatives are among Nymphenburg porcelain manufactory’s bestsellers.
When King Ludwig III and Archduchess Marie-Therese of Austria-Este celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in February 1918, there was a majestic lion on the feast table. The animal, designed by Josef Wackerle, is one of Nymphenburg’s most heroic and at the same time intricate portrayals of lions, as during firing, the figurine has to be supported several times. Since 1946, a smaller version of the magnificent animal on its rocaille base has also been made and sold with a practical height of 24 centimetres.
Whenever the Bavarian Minister President is expecting an important guest, he always presents them with a gift. One of the most popular gifts is this majestic lion by Ernst Andreas Rauch. In 1948 the famous artist, who was also responsible for the Karl Valentin Monument on the Viktualienmarkt square in Munich, designed a strictly heraldic sculpture with the Bavarian heraldic animal. With a staggering height of 39 centimetres, the slender animal is stretching out towards us, its jaws open in a moderate roar. He is elegantly holding the blue and white escutcheon under his right paw.
At around the same time that Roman Anton Boos, as Sculptor to the Electoral Court, designed a series of statuettes of the ancient gods for the Nymphenburg Palace grounds, he also created a pair of lions holding an escutcheon. The animals, which are looking at each other, adorn the outside stairs on the Palace’s garden side. In 1958, Franz Xaver Lorch used them as a model and turned the attractive pair into two hand-span-sized porcelain figurines. Humble and modest, the two big cats, one on the left and one on the right, are crouching behind the magnificently framed escutcheon.
If you descend the outside stairs to the gardens of Nymphenburg Palace, you will see that they are flanked by two majestic lions, sitting down and looking at each other behind the Bavarian coat of arms. The sculptor Franz Xaver Lorch used the two life-sized animals as models in 1958 to make a pair of porcelain figurines for the manufactory’s master workshops. Each of these figures only measures 17 centimetres, yet like their bigger relatives, they proudly present the Bavarian coat of arms in a richly decorated rocaille frame.
Of course, it was no easy task to follow in the footsteps of the great porcelain sculptor Franz Anton Bustelli. However, after Dominikus Auliczek had spent years studying in Vienna, Paris, and London, in 1763 he was appointed master sculptor at Nymphenburg. Before being officially named electoral Bavarian court sculptor in 1772, he had created around 100 models. They included this 12-centimetre-tall lion, which, teeth bared, seems to be defending the Bavarian diamond escutcheon. To complement this wild ‘panthera leo’, Auliczek designed a more gentle version in the same year, 1767.
Dominikus Auliczek, who succeeded Bustelli as master sculptor at the Manufactory from 1763, attached particular importance to the monumentality of his figures. Coming from the field of large-scale sculpture, his designs are not only larger in terms of size, but are also conceived “in a grand style”. Their real dimensions are difficult to estimate from photos alone. Thus this lion too, sitting on a terrace base, seems much more majestic than its modest 12 centimetres would actually suggest.
Ernst Andreas Rauch was already a renowned artist when he created this representation of the Bavarian heraldic animal. The professor had made a name for himself specifically with his Blütenkelchbrunnen fountain in Munich as well as various bronze statues of important figures. With this 15-centimetre-tall figurine, Rauch completed the trilogy of his lions, so to speak. His design made in 1970 is slimmer and seems more peaceful compared to the two forerunners from 1948, with their raised paws. However, what all three have in common is the cheeky tongue sticking out, which has to be cast separately.
Even if we were to formally categorise the hierarchy of Bavarian heraldic lions by circa ten different sculpture sizes, this would certainly not extend to a qualitative classification. On the contrary. This miniature lion, just nine centimetres tall, delights the observer with its unique artistic power. The execution of the eyes, ears, muzzle and paws, after Franz Xaver Lorch’s design, is so meticulous that this practical bottle stopper is also a miniature masterpiece.
When people return home from their travels, they often bring small items back with them which remind them of particularly enjoyable, quaint or even extraordinary experiences. They also bring home handmade treasures, which portray a country’s cultural values. And this four-centimetre tall Bavarian lion by Ernst Andreas Rauch reflects precisely that. Proud, it stands for both the culture of the Free State and the masterly tradition of the Munich manufactory.
One of the specific types of collecting is the world of miniatures—compact and clearly laid out in a case. A great advantage of this artistic microcosm is that all one’s treasured pieces can always be enjoyed at a glance. This is why it is often the case that the smallest pieces enjoy the greatest success. As such, Ernst Andreas Rauch’s miniature lion with a white and blue coat of arms from 1948 counts as one of the most highly sought-after models from the manufactory’s Bavarica range. At its modest size of just four centimetres, it confidently stands for the culture of the Free State of Bavaria as well as for the extraordinary handcrafted perfection of the Nymphenburg masters’ workshops.
When Johann Peter Melchior was appointed master sculptor at Nymphenburg in 1797, his great reputation preceded him. He had already successfully shown how well he could work with porcelain at the Frankenthal and Höchst manufactories. For Nymphenburg, in addition to numerous portrait medallions and portrait busts of members of the royal family and contemporary figures, he also created animal sculptures. They include this reclining lion, with its Classicist-influenced shape and contours.
Whenever dignitaries are honoured in the festive rooms of the Bavarian State Chancellery, it is also done under the watchful eye of this royal lion. Originating as a reminder of the Bavarian royal house, the heraldic animal created by Ernst August Rauch counts among the most intricate models of its species. Great care was taken in finely carving out the crown by knife and gradually adding delicate individual pieces to the figure, enthroned here upon a six-centimetre tall base.
There is not always a great artist behind a great work. But there is a master. For a great deal of experience is required to transform this magnificent rampant lion, which once, cast in bronze, topped a flagpole, into porcelain. Adding the delicate individual parts such as the tail and sword also requires extraordinarily skilled workmanship. With great care, only the crown is cut out by hand using very small scalpels. Finally, the blue and white escutcheon is hand-painted.
The Manufactory’s strengths stem not just from its successful past, but also from its willingness to give contemporary designers a chance to express themselves. This parity still shapes the character of the product range today. In the early 1990s, Anton Hörl added further motifs to the family of Bavarian lions. In this model, the majestic heraldic animal is sitting on a circular base. The lion’s full mane falls neatly behind its head, and it is holding the blue and white escutcheon with both front paws.
Anyone who visits the Free State of Bavaria is of course under the protection of the Bavarian lion. Which is why guests are often presented with a symbolic porcelain patron from the Manufactory’s workshops. It was no different in the days of kings and princes. The selection of lion figurines ranges from humorous to heraldic, and from gentle to growling. This contemporary model is by Anton Hörl, a master of the figurine department at Nymphenburg.
A period of change set in from 1797 when Johann Peter Melchior became master sculptor at the Manufactory: He designed new forms for porcelain services and figurines. In so doing, he moved away from the early Classicist style of his predecessor and introduced elegant Empire forms. This calm use of form, indebted to Classicism, has lost none of its fascination to this day. It is responsible for the production, since 1985, of such successful designs as the reclining lion, also available in various versions as a paperweight.
From 1797 until 1822, Johann Peter Melchior was master sculptor at the Manufactory. Under his direction, figurine sculpture at Nymphenburg underwent a radical transformation. Influenced by Classicism, the shapes became simpler, calmer and thus more elegant, without, however, sacrificing any of their characteristic charm or naturalness. In a short space of time, Melchior created a great many figures that have lost none of their appeal to this day. Thus the reclining lion, designed around 1800, has adorned the blue-edged base of this paperweight since 1985.
based on Johann Peter Melchior
Blue Fond with golden rim and golden line
Anyone who has visited the Manufactory’s premises on the northern side of the Palace’s grand circle knows of the crucial role the colour blue has played in Nymphenburg’s history. The Blue Salon on the bel étage alone deserves a special mention. This paperweight, adorned with the Bavarian lion, also bears the traditional blue and white. Johann Peter Melchior designed the reclining lion around 1800. It has also been produced in a number of versions as a paperweight since 1985.