Beautifully painted in great detail, the scene on this large tankard style pitcher surrounds the entire porcelain body. Probably from Limoges, France, it was possibly made by the firm of Wilhelm Guérin (1838-1912) in the beginning years of the last century. We have seen very similar scenes on marked works from this French company, although this piece is unmarked as to maker.
The monk is in the wine cellar of the abbey, standing in front of large casks, with a lidded stein handy. He's drinking from a green glass bottle while toting a French wicker wine carrier with eight more bottles--two of those already emptied--and comically has more bottles tucked in his apron and one in the hood of his brown robe. The reverse painting shows the stairs to the cellar, with a black lantern at the top and a marble column with a small cask and another wine bottle atop its shelf. Again, the intricacy of the details is impressive.
The soft colors are just lovely on this pitcher; the artist used shades of green, rather than the more common dark brown, and chose to bring in other colors and patterns to make a lively composition. The slightly tapering, cylindrical body is solid green at the stepped base and has a rim ringed in gilt. The D-shaped handle is scrolled and shaded from light green to dark.
This pitcher is 14 inches tall, has a 7 1/4 inch diameter base and weighs a hefty 4 and 1/2 pounds. The white porcelain is clean and unstained inside and on the bottom, except for shelf abrasions on the foot ring. There are nicks to the paint here and there, very tiny, and some fine crazing on the handle and the bottom. No cracks, no chips and the gold is in very good condition. It displays handsomely and is an eye-catching presence in any room.