Gardener Children

Gardener Children

Captured in Full Flow

The first Gardener Children figurines were produced by the famous modeller-in-chief Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706-1775) in the mid-18th century. French genre drawings served as his graphic sources, though he undoubtedly also drew on impressions from his immediate surroundings. Grapes and flowers are just two of the attributes he accords his tiny figurines – features that help make the vineyards running down to the river Elbe so picturesque. Lushly flowering roses flanked the vines there as a means of warding off disease.

 

As with his Four Seasons figurines, Kaendler’s artistic hallmark is again to be seen in the gestures and body language of children captured in full flow. Dressed as adults in typical Rococo vein, they nevertheless look a bit ungainly. The porcelain has been painted in a manner that breathes life into its every pore, from patterns on waistcoats, bodices or skirts down to faces lightly powdered with rouge.

Kaendler’s Gardener Children were conceived as couples. In assigning a girl as a counterpart to each boy, he underscores the perfect harmony and atmosphere of heavenly abandon. Musical instruments such as flutes and lutes point up the figurine’s playful and symbolic thrust: rather than representing a naive child, they denote a person at one with Nature. Kaendler adapts to the spirit of the age with pastoral devices such as a lively puppy dog or a little lamb at a child’s feet – no doubt with a view to winning over as many enthusiasts as possible to his Gardener Children. He certainly succeeded in that: the enchantingly detailed little darlings are still taking collectors’ hearts by storm today.