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EUROPEAN PORCELAIN]
751
CERAMICS

was rich and elaborate. Apart from its technical merits the ware has nothing to recommend it, for the styles of decoration showed pronounced neo-classical influence, and lacked the saving merits of the French work in the same style. The works was closed in 1864, on account of the heavy expenses, and collectors should be reminded that many spurious imitations, the product of small Viennese factories, are to be found on the market.

EB1911 Ceramics - Wegeli’s mark.jpg
Wegeli’s mark.

Berlin.—The first Berlin porcelain was made by W. Casper Wegeli, aided by workmen from other German factories, as early as 1750. This business was unsuccessful and came to an end in 1757, but its productions are highly prized on account of their rarity. Success only came when Frederick the Great brought workmen, moulds and materials from Meissen in 1761, and, becoming proprietor of the works in 1763, founded the Royal Berlin Porcelain Manufactory. Though Meissen workmen and methods had been imported, and the Meissen style governed the earliest productions, Frederick’s well-known penchant for French art was doubtless responsible for the fact that the rococo style of decoration was more determinedly followed here than elsewhere in Germany. The colour schemes of this ware are unusually simple, pieces being seldom decorated in more than three colours, while a rose-coloured enamel, a favourite colour with the great Frederick, is quite characteristic. The Royal Berlin Factory passed under a cloud in the troubled condition of the Prussian monarchy during the early years of the 19th century, and down to 1870 it was content to follow in the wake of Sèvres like most of the other European factories. Since about the year 1880, however, it has developed into the most scientific of European porcelain works, and it was here that Seger manufactured his special porcelain, made to reproduce the qualities of the finest Japanese wares. In spite of this scientific success it must be remarked that the late Berlin porcelain is artistically disappointing, being too exuberant for our taste and recalling anything rather than porcelain in its treatment.

Minor German Factories.—It is unnecessary to describe the productions of all the German porcelain works of the 18th century, for not only is there a strong family likeness, but all the works aimed at producing pieces comparable with those of Meissen, Vienna or Berlin. In every case the industry was established under the patronage or at the direct charge of princes or great nobles, anxious to emulate the success of the elector of Saxony or the king of Prussia, and generally the enterprise came to an end with the death of a patron or from his unwillingness to sustain the continued drains upon his purse.

The factory at Höchst was started about 1720 by wanderers from Meissen, but it was only carried to a successful issue through the patronage of the archbishop-elector of Mainz after 1746. The general style of Höchst is a palpable imitation of the contemporary wares of Meissen, but this factory was noted for its excellent figures and groups, especially those modelled by Melchior (1770–1780). He modelled, at Höchst, more than three hundred figures, as well as many portrait medallions. The works came to an untimely end during the French invasion of 1794.

Frankenthal had a porcelain factory (founded by the Hannongs of Strassburg) in 1756, and patronized by Karl Theodor, elector palatine from 1762 to 1795, when the French invasion put an end to its activities. Melchior, the sculptor, came here from Höchst after 1780, and elaborate pieces in the current styles of Sèvres and Dresden were made.

Nymphenburg, near Munich, had a factory which was made a royal factory in 1758 by Max Joseph III. of Bavaria. The ware was of fine quality, but without special distinction. Melchior came on here about 1800, remaining till his death in 1825; his Nymphenburg figures are as highly esteemed as those he modelled at Höchst and Frankenthal. In the early years of the 19th century elaborate painting became the rule here, as at the other royal factories, and copies were made on porcelain of some of the famous paintings in the Munich galleries. The works is still in existence, in the hands of a private company, who unfortunately sell many reproductions of the 18th-century wares.

Ludwigsburg, some 9 m. from Stuttgart, had a porcelain factory from 1758 to 1824, liberally subsidized by the dukes of Württemberg. Highly-finished painting was the rule at this factory, and because the ware bore a crown as one of its marks, it has rather foolishly been called “Kronenberg” porcelain.

Fürstenberg was the factory patronized by the dukes of Brunswick. Experiments were made as early as 1746, but little ware was produced before 1770. Fürstenberg set itself to imitate all the best-known styles of the day, and its only distinctive productions are its “biscuit” statuettes and medallions. The factory remained in operation until 1888, but as the moulds were then sold by auction, imitations of the old pieces are now common.

Other 18th-century German factories were those of Fulda, Bayreuth, Cassel, Ansbach, Kloster-Veilsdorf, Wallendorf and Limbach.

Mention must also be made of the work of certain famous decorators, like Bottengruber and Preussler, who decorated both German and oriental pieces; while Busch, the canon of Hildesheim, produced effects like fine engraving by etching the glaze with a diamond and rubbing black colour into the lines.

While France and Germany were each developing their own particular type of porcelain, it was only natural that the kings and princes of other countries should strive to emulate them in the manufacture of this still rare and highly esteemed form of pottery. Naturally, perhaps, the countries to the north and east seem to have been influenced most by German methods, whilst those to the south and west followed the French example.

Holland.—The earliest Dutch factories were started as early as 1704, first at Weesp near Amsterdam, and afterwards at Oude Loosdrecht. The mark of this factory occurs as M: O.L., or M.o.L. After 1782 the works was removed to Nieuwe Amstel, but the “Amstel” porcelain came to an end with the French invasion. The ware resembled the German both in material and decoration. The best porcelain made in Holland was produced at a factory at the Hague, founded some time after 1775. There is a choice collection of this ware in the Gemeente Museum at the Hague. No porcelain appears to have been made in Holland after about 1810 until 1890 or later.

Denmark.—It has been stated that porcelain of the German type was made in Copenhagen as early as 1731, but there is no definite record of the production of true porcelain until about 1772, when potters, modellers and painters from some of the German works founded the enterprise which was taken over by King Christian VII. in 1779 and converted into a royal factory. Fostered by the king’s patronage, fine porcelain of pronouncedly German style was largely made down to the end of the 18th century. The collection in the castle of Rosenburg contains many examples of the work of this period. In the early years of the 19th century the Empire style of decoration was adopted, and the artistic influence of Sèvres became paramount. Large sums of money were continually required from the crown to maintain the establishment until, in 1867, it was sold into private hands to get rid of an encumbrance. The subsequent new-birth of the existing royal Copenhagen porcelain works must be noted in the next section.

Sweden.—The history of Swedish porcelain in the 18th century is connected with the factories at Rörstrand and Marieberg, both in the environs of Stockholm. Tentative experiments were made at both these places before 1760, but these came to an end by the close of the 18th century, though the Rörstrand works was reopened some fifty years ago and will be subsequently referred to. The Swedish porcelains were of two kinds, one a true felspathic porcelain like the German, and the other a glassy porcelain resembling that made at Mennecy in France. It is interesting to note that the decorative styles in both cases are distinctly French in character.

Russia.—Peter the Great is said to have projected a porcelain factory at the suggestion of his ally Augustus the Third of Saxony, but the scheme was not carried into execution until the days of the empress Elizabeth. Catherine II. subsidized the work in prodigal fashion, but although she brought over French artists, the Russian porcelain more closely resembles its German than its French prototype. In the early years of the 19th century the imperial Russian factory followed the example of Sèvres in producing costly dinner services and extravagant vases of large dimensions.

Small independent factories were started in the neighbourhood of Moscow: one by an Englishman named Gardner about 1780, and another by A. Popoff. Besides producing ordinary table ware these Moscow factories sent forth a considerable number of statuettes, the most interesting being those representing Russian peasant types.

Hungary.—The one Hungarian porcelain factory of note is that at Herend, which was founded about 1830 by Moritz Fischer. At this factory copies of oriental porcelain were made that have deceived many collectors, though the pieces are usually impressed with the word “Herend” in the paste.

Switzerland.—Little porcelain has been produced in Switzerland, and considering the geographical position of the country it seems natural that porcelain of the German type should have been made at Zurich and of the French type at Nyon on the lake of Geneva, but these productions are of no particular importance.

French Porcelains.—The beginnings of French porcelain at Rouen and St Cloud have already been mentioned, as they preceded Böttger’s discovery of true porcelain; but as nothing was known in France of the methods and materials used by the German porcelain makers, the artificial or glassy porcelain held sway in France through the greater part of the 18th century.