Now in the Detroit Institute of Art
Crossed swords in underglaze blue under the animal’s belly
The porcelain 26.5 cm h; 40cm h overall
insignificant restoration to driver’s stick and left hand and to elephant’s right rear foot.
The sultan seated on a purple cushion with gilt dentil rim and leaning against a sausage-shaped cushion unusually decorated in a deep underglaze blue with gilt foliage and applied with two large gilt tassles. He is shown wearing a jewelled turban with red peak, a short-sleeved white coat with light blue lining over a gilt-edged tunic with large sprays of purple and gilt flowers, black trousers and yellow shoes. All shown on a large saddle – cloth with tassled lambrequin ends very finely moulded and gilt with feathery scrollwork and foliate motifs. A blackamoor, seated on the elephant’s neck, is shown wearing a gilt-edged flowery skirt and his holding a driving stick in his left. The large elephant with the typical 18th century bear’s feet (the first engraving showing an elephant in Europe by Dürer had portrayed the strange beast as such and this detail was used until the 19th century) and finely painted naturalistically.
The particularly fine French ormolu scrollwork base is contemporary to the porcelain and shows three leafy plants growing from the naturalistically worked ground; a large palm tree shown behind.