Dresden and Porcelain

Publish Time:2018-10-15 15:00:18Source:Dresden Marketing Board

【Introduction】:The first European porcelain was created in Dresden between 1707 and 1709 In 2019 Meissen and Dresden remind the 300th anniversary of the inventor of Europan porcelain

The first European porcelain was created in Dresden between 1707 and 1709 / In 2019 Meissen and Dresden remind the 300th anniversary of the inventor of Europan porcelain

More than 300 years ago, Saxon Electoral Prince August the Strong, like many of his royal contemporaries, dreamed of untold treasures, of diamonds, jewels, silver and gold. But August's gold was white, delicate, almost transparent and painted with fine patterns. It came from Japan and China and its complex production and long transit routes rendered it virtually priceless. And yet: August was obsessed with porcelain. He tasked his goldsmith Johann Melchior Dinglinger with designing an“exquisite golden gemstone-adorned tea service” with enamelled and painted golden cups that would give the impression of porcelain. Created in 1703, the service is today one of the main attractions in the “New Green Vault”of the Dresden State Art Collections.

Two years before, August had the 19-year-old pharmacist apprentice and alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger (1682-1719) brought to Dresden from Wittenberg. The Prussian king was fixated on Böttger, who promised he could turn ls into gold. August and the Saxon aristocracy initially courted the supposed goldmaker, who sometimes even resided in the palace. Yet his attempts failed. Even the Saxon ruler's most sincere devotional prayers didn't help. Saxon scholar Ehrenfried Walter von Tschirnhaus steered Böttger's inventive drive toward the white gold.

Not a soul was to get wind of Böttger's experiments. And thus August had the alchemist brought to the secure Festung Königstein fortress during the Swedish siege of 1706. On 22 September 1707, Böttger got down to work in the Jungfernbastei bastion beneath today's Brühl's Terrace. The vaults of Dresden's ramparts are partly accessible today to the public. The chambers themselves, however, were buried during the Belvedere bombing. A porcelain stele stands on the Terrace in commemoration of Böttger.

Here, deep within the city's ramparts, August the Strong paid visits to the laboratory and it was here in late December 1707 that Böttger demonstrated for him the first successful test firing of white porcelain, where he then went on to perfect his efforts and officially presented his invention in 1709: “There are three qualities which especially quicken the human desire to covet a particular item and which could likely otherwise supersede its fundamental purpose,” Böttger proclaimed to August and the Saxon ministers. “First there is beauty, secondly rarity, and thirdly the functionality associated with both. These three qualities make an pleasing, valuable and necessary.” And Böttger then proudly added: “The vessels presented here are in possession of all three of these qualities.”

The vaults of the Dresden Fortress will be open to the public from the end of 2019 in the form of a new experience exhibition. In it the porcelain development in Dresden will be experienced. On the Brühl Terrace itself a porcelain stele reminds of Böttger.

The Foundation of Meissen Porcelain Manufactory

On 23 January 1710, August let the world know he had founded a porcelain factory in Dresden. But how could he safeguard the secret to its production? A location had to be found which was large enough to house the factory as well as living quarters for the future employees and secure enough that no one could come and go without permission. The perfect location was found during that same year of 1710 in the Albrechtsburg in nearby Meissen. Yet the monopoly didn’t last very long: former workers traded their knowledge for money. Porcelain factories were soon spreading like wildfire all across Europe: in Vienna in 1718, Sweden in 1726.

Today the Meißen Porcelain Factory along with its museum, special exhibitions and demonstration workshops is one of the most popular day trip destinations from Dresden. The very first pieces were wholly beholden to the Asian originals. Many Dresden sculptors experimented with the new material. Johann Joachim Kändler (1706-1775) developed new forms, Johann Gregorius Höroldt (1696-1775) became the first prominent European painter of porcelain.

As early as 1710 the white porcelain was already being sold at the Leipzig Messe trade fair. And what did August do with the proceeds? He bought porcelain, of course. Because in 1717 the Saxon ruler decided to convert today's “Japanese Palace” into a porcelain palace. A staggering amount of money was needed to realise this enormous venture. August sold 600 of his best soldiers to his Prussian rival Friedrich Wilhelm I., who turned them into his Dragoon Regiment. In return, the Saxon ruler received 151 East Asian porcelain s. The largest pieces, produced in China between 1662 and 1722, are today known as the “Dragoon vases” and grace the Dresden Porcelain Collection.

August the Strong died in 1733 owing the Meissen Porcelain Factory 47,926 Talers. Although his porcelain palace project was never finished, the Japanese Palace with its curved roof, magnificent gable reliefs and the in ion “The porcelain-producing countries bestow their treasures on Saxony” remains as a legacy. Dresden’s Zwinger has meanwhile accommodated the approximately 20,000 porcelain s since 1962. The Porcelain Collection is today the largest museum of its kind in the world. Of the approximately 20,000 inventoried porcelain works, about 3,000 are currently on display. The Porcelain Collection was expanded in 2006 by the East Asian Gallery, conceived by the New York designer Peter Marino.

After the death of August the Strong, Count Brühl, who was just as artistically minded as he was enterprising, not only rose to Prime Minister but also to director of the Meissen Porcelain Factory. In 1736, he had Johann Joachim Kändler produce a sample plate for a dining service. Brühl specified the form, “which was in the shape of a seashell with two gliding swans and two other waterfowl amidst reeds.” Production of the so-called “Swan Service” began in 1738 and, with its 1,400 individual pieces, is arguably the largest and most ornate service any porcelain manufacturer has ever created.


§ The largest porcelain tableau in the world is located right in the heart of the Old Town, between the Georgentor on one side and the Johanneum on the other. The “Procession of Princes” featuring the likenesses of the rulers of the House of Wettin going back more than 800 years is 102 meters long. The 957 m² mural of nearly 25,000 Meissen porcelain tiles was created in 1907 d on a design by Dresden art professor Wilhelm Walther.

§ The second largest Meissen Mural decorates the northern wall of the hall of art nouveau Dresden Neustadt station. It themes the Saxon castles.

§ Outside of the museum setting, enthusiasts can also purchase their own aristocratic porcelain – at the MEISSEN® factory. shop located in the QF shopping mall or the Hilton Hotel

§ The medieval town of Meissen is always worth a visit – especially thanks to the House of MEISSEN® with its Museum of Meissen Art® and show workshops. At the Café Meissen® one can enjoy all dishes, cakes or hot drinks with Meisse tableware.

§ From February 4 to December 31, 2019, the Museum in the House of MEISSEN® will host the special exhibition "Böttger and the Red Porcellain". It shows the world of today's Böttger-steinzeug®.

§ Combine a stay in Dresden and Meissen with the most important porcelain city in the Netherlands: Delft. See the program proposal in the attachment




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Dresden Marketing Board

Messering 7, 01067 Dresden, Germany


Christoph Münch, International Press

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