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
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-