Figure of a river god, part of the Prussian dinner service

Johann Gottfried Schadow (1764-1850)

The Prussian dinner service was a gift from Frederick William III, King of Prussia to Wellington. The largest and most elaborate dinner service made between 1817 and 1819 in the porcelain factory in Berlin.

The centrepiece of the service is an elaborate ceramic obelisk surrounded by eight figures of river gods designed by Johan Gottfreid Schadow.

This figure is biscuit porcelain and depicts the god of the river Tejo in Portugal; he is shown reclining on an overflowing vase of water.

Schadow was a German sculptor who is credited with founding the Modern School of Berlin sculptors. He studied in Rome under Canova and is perhaps best known for this ‘Quadriga of Victory’ (1793) which sits on top of the Brandenburg Gate.

His designs show the influence of classical antiquity, his river gods in particular hark back to the marble figures of the Nile and the Tiber which Schadow had probably seen in Rome.

The river gods were made by the master modeller of the Berlin factory Johann Carl Friedrich Riese.