Very rare Meissen butter cooler, moulded to represent slats pierced for airflow, standing on four small scroll feet, well painted to the lid with Kauffahrtei scenes in the style of Herold, the knop a ripening fruit. Crossed swords, circa 1740.
This rare form is better known in Worcester copies than in Meissen originals: the Zorensky collection had an example, circa 1758, a decade later than this example, suggesting Meissen was the source. However, no comparable Meissen example could be traced in collections or the trade, suggesting it is a rare survivor. The reasoning behind a butter cooler was simple: when butter was brought from the chill of the dairy to the warmth of the house, condensation would occur - rather unsavoury around dairy products - but with airholes, the butter could adjust to room temperature without unsightly pools of liquid. There is probably a matching stand to catch any leaks.