»The Ornamental Plates«

»8 Objects – 8 Fates« – panel 4

These elaborately designed ornamental plates display fruit motifs with blooms. The circumferential gold rim adds further interest to the plates. These kinds of fruit motifs on decorative plates were characteristic for the turn of the century and were produced by many manufacturers in different variations. The blue “F”, stamped on the back, indicates that the plates were produced in the porcelain factory Fürstenberg.

The two plates did not have any practical function but were showpieces and part of the home decoration, which testifies not only to the loving care of the home but also to the social standing of the family. Together with a third plate that depicted strawberries, they were kept in a vitrine of the Kleeberg family in Boffzen. After their move to Hannover, the porcelain plates were displayed in the living room of the three-generation house on Wißmannstraße. The granddaughter Ruth often looked at them.

Prior to the forced transfer to the “Jews’ House (Judenhaus) Ohestraße 8/9”, household goods were drastically reduced. The separation of property agreement, arranged by Maria and Erich Kleeberg, protected the family from the confiscation of their belongings. Valuable possessions survived with the non-Jewish family of Maria Kleeberg’s sister in Kassel, amongst them the three porcelain ornamental plates.

Thus, the decorative plates withstood time: Despite the persecution and murder of their owners, war, and bombings, they remained intact. Maria Kleeberg recovered them from her sister after her liberation. To this day, they are in the possession of the granddaughter Ruth Gröne, née Kleeberg. Maria Kleeberg probably gifted the third, now missing plate with the strawberry motif to her sister as a show of gratitude for storing her plates.

Picture credits

Private Collection, Ruth Gröne


Exhibition: 8 Objects – 8 Fates
Duration: From 11th December 2016 to 7th January 2017
Location: Bürgersaal, Neues Rathaus, Hannover
Panel: 4 from 10 – The Ornamental Plates
Size: 650 x 2050 mm
Technique: Digital print on Alu-Dibond