Symbol of elegance, refinement, luxury and smoothness, the porcelain was in the centre of all covetousness’s during the 18th century. Jealously envied by Europeans Eastern, the porcelain exerted an immense fascination lasting of the centuries.
It is at the end of 13th century, in 1295, that the first porcelain parts make their appearance in Occident. Imported from China to Venice by Marco Polo, the “porcella” causes a passion growing in Europe.
Opened in 1498 by Vasco de Gama, the road of the Indies then made it possible to establish a regular exchange between the Occident and the East thanks to the “Companies des Indes” Netherland, English and French with 17 and 18th. Large royal and princely collections thus started to be constituted, parallel to many research undertaken to bore the trade secrets.
Porcelain dish of China with blue and white decoration, time Yuan (1279-1378), allocated for 1.655.150 € by Sotheby' S in 2008.
An alchemist at the origin of discovered Dresden china
Persuaded to be able to manufacture gold starting from any metal, the chemist Johann Friedrich Böttger (1682-1719), after many years of research, makes the discovery of the trade secret of the hard porcelain in the years 1710.
The dream of Auguste the Fort (1670-1733), Duke of Saxony and King de Pologne is carried out finally. Promulgating at once the creation of the Manufacture of Meissen, it locks up Böttger in a medieval fortress so that the secrecy is never revealed.
It is actually cooking at very high temperature of the kaolin, ingredient for a long time known of Eastern which associated with quartz and feldspar makes it possible to obtain a perfectly white ceramics. This discovery hardly aroused interest with Böttger which tried to obtain gold at all costs. It was however about the definition even of the porcelain.
Meissen, first porcelain factory
First of all manufacturing objects out of rather simple sandstones and little originals, most of the time moulded on Chinese parts, the manufacture of Meissen quickly was different thanks to the exceptional talent decorators, painters and enamellers. Painting on porcelain reaches its apogee thanks to Johan Gregor Höroldt. At the origin of polychromic, it created a broad palette thus allowing original decorations and of a large smoothness.
Initially imitated of China, the parts grow rich in years 1725 by European decorations, with funds of colours quite specific, flowers and insects increasingly naturalized scenes of ports, of hunting, battles or of the landscapes.
The success of the manufacture of Meissen is also due to an original and atypical production: the statuary. Under the direction of the sculptor Johann Joachim Kaendler, this production initially consists of sculptures of animals life size intended to decorate the Japanese palate of the Duke of Saxony
Pair of porcelain bulldogs of Meissen whose model was carried out by Kaendler, gilded bronze mounting, circa 1740, allocated 361.250 Pounds Sterling in 2008. Courtesy of Sotheby' S.
They give rise to thereafter the creation of small statuettes that made a triumph. These groups constitute a true testimony of the life of Court in Saxony at the 18th century. Figures of Saxon courtiers, characters of Comedia dell' Arte, saints, representations of sovereigns, numbers of them were sent to Paris, where the merchants drapers made them go up on gilded bronze bases, enriches by tender porcelain flowers of the manufacture of Vincennes.
Mark porcelain of Meissen used between 1773 and 1814: Two swords crossed with asterisk.
The manufacture of Meissen represents the cradle of the manufacture of the porcelain in Europe. Its parts, marked with the swords crossed as from 1723, sometimes associated with the letters “AR” (Augustus Rex), are of a large smoothness, purity and an incomparable quality. The porcelain of Meissen remains the single competitor of the Eastern extreme porcelain until the discovery of a kaolin layer with Saint Yrieix, close to Limoges, in 1768.
Specialist in 18th century decorative arts, Agathe collaborates with Authenticité during his missions especially in the auctions intended for the private individuals and professionals.