German porcelain has a highly deserved reputation for being among the best that is produced anywhere.
It was in the early Eighteenth Century that the potters at the Meissen factory in Bavaria found how to replicate the fine white porcelain ( hard paste) which had been imported from China. The combination of this discovery and the development of delicate and durable glazes made the works produced by Meissen highly sought after.
Meissen is near Dresden, and the term "Dresden China" came to refer to the delicate and often exquisitely modelled figures of ladies and gentlemen, often with lace adornment.
The industry flourished, and over the past three centuries a number of makers of fine porcelain have produced beautiful fine porcelain pieces. Many of the pieces of these manufacturers can be collected quite easily.
Some of the leading makers to look for are:
Alka (or Alka-Kunst Alboth & Kaiser of Staffelstein, Bavaria, Germany) who have made fine porcelain since 1872- the mark includes a crown and the word Alka.
Rosenthal (Rosenthal AG), from 1879 makers of fine table ware and porcelain pieces. The company is still in production.The backstamp is Rosenthal with a crown in the centre.
Furstenberg (Furstenberg Porcelain Works) started in 1747 and is still in production today. Some of the contemporary pieces are made using the original moulds. The backstamp is a capital hand written F with a crown above.
Heutschenreuther, Bavaria and
Bareuther are three marks for companies in the Bavaria region of Germany which produce fine white porcelain, and have done so for several centuries. Heutschenreuther's trademark now contains a prowling lion.
Modernist designs: simple lines, clean surfaces, stark shapes:
Arzberg is most famous for its Modernist designs, which began with Hermann Gretsch's "Form 1382" in 1931, based on the clean line lines of the Bauhaus school.
At the same time
KPM ( Konigliche porzellan manufaktur) produced in 1930 the "Urbino" range which went on to win a number of awards. Both of these companies produce elegant wares for the table and service.
Collecting German porcelain can be a rewarding and delightful hobby. There is now a great deal of research material available, even on the internet, however it is probably a good idea to find one of the books on European Backstamps ( Kovels do two- one from the beginning of porcelain to 1850, and a second from 1850 onwards).
COLLECTING GERMAN PORCELAIN- FINDING THE FINE PIECES
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21 April 2007
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