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Meissen Porcelain (1) – Behind the Scenes

January 13, 2014
I haven’t had a chance to show you lovely Meissen porcelain*, that I saw in the Museum of Meissen Art during our latest trip to Germany. There’s so much to see that I will split this information into several posts. Here’s the first one, that will tell you about this famous German brand.
Lets not waste time and have a look at the process of creating extremely beautiful pieces!
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The Museum of Meissen Art might be one the most interesting museums I have been to. They have a huge collection of their porcelain creations, some of them dating back to 1710! That’s actually more than 300 years of history – pretty impressive, don’t you think? Yet even if you’re not big on porcelain dishes or figurines, I think you’d enjoy seeing the way they’re made. I guess the Museum’s decision to open up a special showroom, that demonstrates the whole process in a few steps, has been very successful.
As I was allowed to take photographs… here’s what happens behind the scenes.

On the Museum website you will find that…

“The tour begins with a short film on the history of the Manufactory, the raw materials used and the manufacturing processes adopted. In the following four rooms, you get to see how Meissen Porcelain is made by hand.

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Relief-moulded cups are “thrown” and parts of figurines moulded at the workbenches of a thrower and modeller.”

There are thousands of forms that are used to mould dishes and figurines, for e.g. these cute little heads of cherubs, that you can later on buy for 12 Euros at the Museum shop.

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“A person known as a repairer or fettler then joins the parts of a figure together. A finished example stands before them as a guide on how to proceed.”

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This job requires such precision… By the way, please have a look at the two figurines on the right – there’s a big size difference, right? It’s because the bigger one hasn’t been fired yet.

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“Underglaze painting is demonstrated citing the example of Meissen’s famous Onion Pattern.”

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A pattern is transferred onto a plate, which is then covered in special paint, of course everything is done by hand. Have a look at the plates below – before the firing the paint seems green, after – it turns blue.

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“The tour concludes with a display of overglaze painting. Floral decorations and painting based on oriental motifs are used to illustrate this multifaceted technique with its extensive nuances of colour.”

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Every piece of Meissen porcelain has two numbers, one of them helps to identify the artist who has painted it. Every artist has their own style, for e.g. their painted flowers lean to the left, so if you compare plates, that have been painted by two different artists, they will have slight differences.

If you like shopping…

There’s an outlet shop at the Musuem, that sells second-grade porcelain pieces. I hoped to get a little something for my relatives, hmm… how little did I know then about their prices…

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There’s also a boutique, that sells limited artworks, but lets not even mention the numbers next to the three letters – EUR…

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Meissen porcelain or Meissen china is the first European hard-paste porcelain that was developed from 1708 by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. After his death that October, Johann Friedrich Böttger, continued his work and brought porcelain to the market. (Wikipedia)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2014 4:52 pm

    So fine and elegant porcelain nicely presented !!! I have some pieces at home and I adore them !!!

    • January 28, 2014 4:56 pm

      Thank you for you nice comment, really glad to hear you liked this post. I wish I had at least one figurine… as they are true masterpieces! K.

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