August the Strong, Prince Elector of Saxony, was intrigued. In 1701, he received instructions from a child named Johann Friedrich Böttger who has been an alchemist together been arrested in Wittenberg, an american city outside August’s realm. Böttger claimed which he could turn base metals into gold. If there were something August loved over women (rumor has it he fathered about 300 illegitimate children), it turned out gold.
The art-loving ruler amassed many treasure during his lifetime a few of which can still be observed in the Green Vault in Dresden. The temptation to own his own gold-maker was irresistible: after the short dispute together with the Prussian king who also had his eye on Böttger, August discreetly moved Böttger to Dresden where he was strictly guarded and actually imprisoned so although not flee and take his secret information about gold-making with him.
This took for years. Böttger did not make gold, always claiming that they was “nearly there”. In 1704, he was combined with Walther von Tschirnhaus, another alchemist in August’s “custody” who had initially experienced a search for that “philosopher’s stone” on August’s request but had taken on experimenting with substances to create porcelain. Böttger never succeeded to make gold and Tschirnhaus never found the philosopher’s stone. But together they developed the formula how to create “white gold” – hard paste porcelain.
Tschirnhaus failed to live towards the immense success of these invention. He died in 1708, a couple of years before the delighted August the Strong founded the 1st European porcelain factory in Meissen in 1710. Böttger was finally granted his freedom in 1714 underneath the condition that she would not leave america nor share the actual key about porcelain-making with anyone. Oh, and ultimately, make gold… He kicked the bucket in 1719, being only 37 years. Porcelain took over as pride along with a treasured export of Saxony, providing employment to several people and luring great artists to Saxony to be effective in the industry.
There quite a bit of confusion about “Meissen porcelain” and “Dresden porcelain” since they are often used interchangeably from the English-speaking countries. The mistake is understandable when you’re conscious that Meissen and Dresden are simply about 16 miles apart. Meissen could be the location of the initial porcelain factory founded by August the Strong, but he resided in Dresden and his awesome porcelain, described as the blue cross-swords stamp, was rather related to this city, because much of it had been sold here.
But in reality, “Meissen porcelain” and “Dresden porcelain” are 2 completely different things. I don’t mean to slight the good craftmanship and art from the Meissen porcelain. Its excellent reputation around the globe is well-deserved and in fact, it could be the oldest porcelain factory in Europe. But you still find it everywhere, new and old, passed, auctioned off on eBay… Dresden porcelain however, isn’t that ubiquitous. You can still find it on eBay, yet it is still something no person has, something for that porcelain connoisseur.
So, what on earth is “Dresden porcelain”?
Carl-Johann Thieme was obviously a skilled porcelain painter who owned a compact porcelain and antique store from the center of Dresden. In 1872 he thought we would follow his biggest dream and produce their own porcelain. He found an appropriate place for his enterprise from the industrial district Potschappel just outside Dresden along with the “Sächsische Porzellan-Fabrik Carl Thieme zu Potschappel” opened in September 1872.
The factory prospered right from the start and this success was largely caused by porcelain modeler Carl August Kuntzsch who also were Thieme’s own son in law. Kuntzsch launched a floral décor that may become a unique trademark of Dresden porcelain and had become the factory’s director after Thieme’s death in 1912. The world wars affected the factory quite heavily as exports caved in and valuable workers left or were killed inside wars, nevertheless the factory survived just to be expropriated comprehensive by the GDR government. Outside socialist East Germany, the attractive porcelain was favorable, plus the 180 workers mainly produced pieces for export to West Germany along with the rest of Western Europe.
Following the German re-unification, the Dresden porcelain factory experienced turbulent times. From a “people-owned socialist” enterprise it went to the hands of any trust until it absolutely was bought by French investors who went bankrupt soon afterwards. It passed throughout the hands of countless owners till the Russian businessman Armenak S. Agababyan got it in 2008 and gave it the much-needed financial stability to remain the production. Despite some fluctuations, the factory nowadays has again a fantastic reputation for its handmade and artistic porcelain.
In earlier days of founder Carl-Johann Thieme the leading designs mirrored forms and shapes on the Baroque and Rococo era. Nowadays, the most preferred design language ranges from Baroque to Classicism and into Biedermeier art. Floral designs, opulent painting and rich gold decor are trademarks and provide Dresden Porcelain a very elegant and chic touch. Dresden porcelain is really a piece of Saxony just as the iconic dome from the church individuals lady in Dresden, the “Eierschecke” cake the Saxons love a whole lot or the stunning crags and stone pinnacles inside Elb Sandstone Mountains. It survived world wars, the socialist regime of East Germany, mismanagement and changing owners. It is challenging to believe that there is certainly such a turbulent history behind these serene and delightful waste porcelain.