Exhibitions

The Things of Warsaw – core exhibition / Room of Souvenirs

Kettle with Warsaw and Praga cityscapes based on the paintings of Bernando Bellotto, also called Canaletto

This is no ordinary kettle! Common residents of Warsaw had the first opportunity to use such porcelain in 1794, during the Kościuszko Uprising, when a shoemaker and a butcher drank expensive tea with the sister of the queen. Niemcewicz wrote that Easter was never as happy as it was then. Certain anxiety could only be noticed in the royal castle, with frightened by the recent the death of Louis XIV. Mrs Krakowska, the king’s sister, aiming to humour the leaders of the masses, invited shoemaker Kiliński and butcher Morawski for dinner.

 

The body of the kettle, which perhaps was used to pour tea for Kiliński and Morawski, is decorated with Warsaw vistas. On one side there is the panorama of the town on the left bank of the Vistula, on the other – the cityscape of the Praga district. The vedute are based on the magnificent vistas of Warsaw depicted by Bernardo Bellotto, born in Venice, also known as Canaletto (1721–1780). Canaletto’s painting were made on commission of King Stanisław August Poniatowski (1732–1798) and were meant to be placed in the Royal Castle.

The kettle was made in the production plant in Miśnia, the first European porcelain factory, and is a part of a service manufactured specifically for the Royal Castle. Porcelainware was often made on commission, with the decoration of individual pieces or entire services customised for the client. Towards the end of the 18th century, porcelain was richly decorated: handles were carefully sculpted, while the bodies of the utensils were coated in gold and covered with paintings. Apart from floral and geometric patterns, landscapes were a popular decorative motif.

The kettle, with its stunning form and the high artistic value of the painted decoration, will be proudly presented during the Things of Warsaw exhibition. It is one of the oldest souvenirs in our collection.

Kettle with Warsaw and Praga cityscapes
based on the paintings of Bernando Bellotto, also called Canaletto; Miśnia, 1774–1816
glazed porcelain, artistic decoration, colour painting, gold plating
MHW 17758