Meissen porcelain was created in the early 1700s after trying to recreate the material used by the Chinese which had captured the fancy of Europeans travelling to the area. After a number of failed attempts, an alchemist named Johann Friedrich Böttger finally achieved the intended result. This result was a porcelain of such high quality that has remained famous throughout time. Even today, meissen porcelain items are considered to be of the highest quality and sought out by collectors.
Originally, Böttger produced a processed hard red stoneware known as Böttgersteinzeug. Wares created with a white porcelain that had the ability to be glazed and painted made their appearance on the market in 1713. As time progressed Böttger’s wares increased in quality however, lacked in terms of decor. Later on, though, gold decorations were applied and finely engraved. In 1723 multicolor enamelled painting added to the wares indicated the beginning of the classic phase of Meissen porcelain.
Next to follow was the “Meissen Blue” phase, which was introduced by Friedrich August Köttig. This phase is when intricately painted designs including detailed landscapes and port scenes, animals, flowers and courtship scenes appeared on Meissen porcelain creations.
Meissen porcelain originally focused on the production of tableware,with the first services being produced in 1720 these first services were without decorations, but decorations were soon added by Kaendler who also created a “New Cutout” pattern, known for its wavy edge.
One of the most famous of services created was The Swan Service in 1737-43, which eventually added up to more than a thousand pieces and continues to be made. Other popular patterns still produced are the Purple Rose pattern and the Vine-leaf pattern.
Meissen porcelain changed directions due to the changing tastes of the neoclassical period and the rise of Sèvres porcelain in the 1760s.
It was then Erich Hösel in 1903, who revived and reinterpreted the old styles. Despite some impressive work in the Art Nouveau style being produced, Meissen’s main production continued to be items using the revived eighteenth-century models.
After some years of turmoil and artistic oppression, it was not until 1969, with Karl Petermann as the artistic director, that Meissen went back to its roots and was also allowed a freer artistic expression.
At www.ivoryandart.com you can find a variety of Meissen porcelain items from various time periods in the forms of services, figurines and other household items.