CHISWICK HOUSE THEMED TOURS BLOG LECTURES RESEARCH GALLERY

 The Garden Room at Chiswick House and its association with Meissen Porcelain (3)

A further curious connection between the ceiling paintings in the Garden Room and Meissen porcelain is the presence of the pug. In one of the octagonal panels Kent paints (very poorly) a pug cuddled by the two cherubs from the opposite panel. The pug also commonly appeared in Meissen figurine groups, most notably designed by the brilliant Meissen modeller Johann Joachim Kändler (1706-1775). The pug often appeared in Meissen porcelain in figurine groups in the presence of Freemasons, identifiable by their aprons and Masonic tools such as set-squares and dividers, and often in the presence of a female figure.


From 1738 the pug was used as a symbol of opposition against the Papal Bull In eminenti apostolatus specula which outlawed the practice of Craft Freemasonry (the first three degrees) in Catholic countries. The pug was used most predominantly by the ‘Order of the Pug’ or the ‘Mopsorden‘, a Germanic pseudo -Masonic fraternity which accepted both male and female members. On occasion the association would be much more discreet and the painted pug would be hidden from view in places such as the inside lid of a Meissen sniff box, where only the owner would view the dog as a reminder of his or her loyalty to the fraternity. The symbolism of the pug was further reinforced through the Electors of Saxony who controlled the Meissen factory and who were Grand Masters of the ‘Mopsorden’(1). It may be coincidental but in female lodges in France the ‘sisters’ made ‘fictitious voyages and talked of anchoring in ports’ (2). The same themes appear on Meissen porcelain of the period and there may be some as yet undiscovered connection between such ‘Lodges of Adoption’. Although uncommon, so called ‘Lodges of Adoption’ did exist within England in the mid-18th century and such symbolism is suggestive that Lady Burlington may (like her husband) have belong to a Masonic fraternity.
































Above- Porcelain figures (c.1745)  of members of the Order of the Mopses. The gentleman above wears his Masonic lamb skin apron and his holds a scroll and dividers. His female companion has a pug at her feet. The pair were modelled by  Johann Joachim Kändler. arguably Meissen’s greatest ever creative craftsman.



(1) Janet Gleeson, The Arcanum (London: Bantam Books, 1998), p. 233.

(2) Jane Clark, ‘Lord Burlington is here’ in Edward Corp and Jane Clark (eds.), Lord Burlington: Architecture, Art and  Life (London: The Hambledon Press, 1995), p. 302. For Mopses, also see James Stevens Curl, Freemasonry & the Enlightenment: Architecture, Symbols, & Influences (London: Historical Publications Ltd, 2011), pp. 115-118.




































(1) Janet Gleeson, The Arcanum (London: Bantam Books, 1998), p. 233.

(2) Jane Clark, ‘Lord Burlington is here’ in Edward Corp and Jane Clark (eds.), Lord Burlington: Architecture, Art and  Life (London: The Hambledon Press, 1995), p. 302. For Mopses, also see James Stevens Curl, Freemasonry & the Enlightenment: Architecture, Symbols, & Influences (London: Historical Publications Ltd, 2011), pp. 115-118.





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