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Porcelain Factories

Porcelain Factories

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Published by verne4444

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categoriesTopics, Art & Design
Published by: verne4444 on Oct 21, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/21/2011

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88
 
ANTIQUES
 
C
ONTINENTAL
P
ORCELAIN
F
ACTORIES
 
G
ERMANY
 
 Dresden (Saxony), East Germany
 
In the year 1707, Johann Bottger, an alchemist, was investigatingthe possibility of making gold, when his services were enlistedto discover what seemed at the time an equally insoluble secret;how to make porcelain to rival the Oriental ware then beingimported into Europe in quantity. As a result of his successfulexperiments in making a hard red ware, he was able to make awhite one, and on 23rd January 1710 the Royal Saxon Manu-factory was established. It was in an old fortress at Meissen,near Dresden in Saxony, and there it remained for nearly 150years. The porcelain produced since 1710 is called Meissen inGermany and the United States, Dresden in England, and Saxein France, and was the first to be made in Europe in the Orientalmanner from a fused mixture of minerals.
 
From the start, both the red and the white wares were madein quantity, but examples of them are very rare today. Theformer were often decorated on the lapidary's wheel, the polishedparts appearing as if glazed. A few figures were made, but theoutput was principally cups and bowls, and many of these inwhite porcelain had coloured decoration.
 
Bottger died in 1719, and from then onwards there were numer-ous changes in both personnel and output, culminating in theappointment of Johann Kandler as modeller in 1731. It wasKandler's creation of dozens of brilliant figures and groups thatspread the fame of Meissen throughout Europe, and inspiredmodellers of every nation.
 
As well as figures, Dresden made tablewares, and initiated aseries
of 
tureens and covered pots in the form of animals, fishes,birds, flowers, fruit and vegetables. Proof of the success of allthese is the fact that so many factories, at one time or another,imitated not only the designs but also added a fake crossed-swords mark. The latter often on wares far removed from any-
 
 
CONTINENTAL PORCELAIN 89
 thing likely to have come from Germany, but taking full advan-tage of the high reputation that country enjoyed for making finechina.Design and workmanship reached their heights in the yearsbetween 1740 and 1750; the years during which most countrieswere managing to start their own soft-paste factories in attemptsto rival the imported product. It was the decade that saw thefashion for porcelain as a dinner-table decoration; temples, foun-tains and palaces were made to stand in the centre of the board,surrounded by the inhabitants of a world of fantasy created bythe potter. The banquets of Continental royalties stimulatedthe production of these pieces, but the custom does not seem tohave been widespread in England.The Seven Years War from 1756 to 1763 saw the end of themost important and prolific period of Dresden, and althoughnew models were introduced continuously afterwards none cap-ture the brilliance of the earlier years. Kandler died in 1775, whenthe factory was under the direction of Count Camillo Marcolini;whose name is given to the period 1774 to 1814, when he wasthe government minister responsible for the factory.Dresden china was copied not only in the countries where itwas imported but the factory re-issued the same models againand again. The composition of the body and glaze has changedlittle, but new colours have been introduced from time to time.It is these, together with the quality of painting and the finish of the porcelain, that distinguish old from new.From the year 1713, when examples of Dresden white porcelainwere exhibited at the Leipzig Easter Fair, a bid was made tocapture markets throughout Europe. Saxony badly needed money,which was why Bottger had been endeavouring in the first placeto make gold, and the export of porcelain was to be the means of providing it. The policy was successful until the Seven YearsWar upset progress, but by that date almost every country hadits own manufactories, and once the German works had loosedits grip it was never regained.It was due to the activities of a small number of Arcanists,
 
90 ANTIQUES
 men who knew or professed to know the secrets of porcelain-manufacture, that other factories came into being following thesuccess of Dresden. These men offered their knowledge and ser-vices where they thought it would pay them best, and in spite of the strictest precautions to prevent their defection. The firstto benefit was Vienna in Austria.
13. H. 15.
 
1725-63 1763-74 1774-1814
 
AH these marks are in underglaze blue.
 Other factories in Germany were founded about the middle of the eighteenth century and each produced hard-paste wares of varying quality and interest. They include:
 Hochst, near Frankfort 
(
West Germany)
 The best-known figures are a series of children which are verycarefully modelled and painted, and have been copied during thepast hundred years in both porcelain and pottery. The factorymark, which has also been imitated, is a spoked wheel in blue orred.
 Berlin
 A wool-merchant named Wilhelm Wegely started a factoryin 1752 but it was unsuccessful and closed five years later. In 1761a further factory was opened by a financier named Gotzkowsky.

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