Vienna figure of a Harvester lass, wheat & sickle, c. 1755


Delightful early Vienna figure of a lady ‘Harvester’, modelled smartly dressed with ribbon around her neck to keep her broad rimmed hat on (lost), a sickle & wheat sheaf in her right hand, her extended left holding a flower sprig, on a low plinth base with a growth of wheat as rear support.
Underglaze blue shield mark,
also impressed ‘O”,
Circa 1755

18.5cm high

Restorations include one side of hat, sickle blade, and flower.

Ref. Sladek ‘Ceremonies, Feasts, Costumes: Viennese Porcelain Figures’ p143 for a group of the same type of ‘pastoral theme’ figures, sharing details in dress and surely by the same sculptor, also left in the white, many with the same ‘O’ impressed indicating the same repairer put them together at the factory. They also share the same shoes with flower buckles!
The usual attribution of a figure with wheat is ‘Summer’ from a set of the 4 seasons – but in this case, she fits in well with a group of ‘Pastoral Pursuits’, with other examples including Gardners, Wine growers, Bird catchers, and various other ‘Arcadian’ figures, all very well dressed and occupied with a task. Alongside these figures are a series of buildings – including some left white like the figures – giving a context for the assemblage; they were table figures, a part of an elaborate ‘Feast Day’ dining experience presented by the likes of Empress Maria Theresa, where an entire Idyllic landscape would be set up down the center of a grand table for the diner’s entertainment.
A partner for this figure is found at the end of Sladek’s book – flanking the Apendix heading is a single figure of a man with sickle & wheat. When placed alongside this figure, they have the same occupation, the same base, the same ruffled dress edging – and they complement each other in their stance, with her arm extending to his arm. Clearly, it’s her long-lost harvest companion!


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