Magnificent Meissen: all that's best in European porcelain WriteAntiques.com aims to introduce folks to the joys of collecting. It is authored by Christopher Proudlove, who has been writing about antiques and auctions since 1979.
This week: affordable Meisse
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - Every serious porcelain collector knows the early history of Meissen. For nigh on 1,000 years, the only people who understood how to produce hard paste porcelain were the Chinese. Then Augustus the Strong, who was a great fan of Chinese porcelain, engaged a young apothecary who unwittingly discovered the secret.
Today, Meissen made from 1710 to the end of the 19th century is highly sought after by collectors. Small fortunes can change hands at auction sales, often for a single cup if two collectors battle it out for ownership. In a recent sale a tiny sugar bowl and cover, made in 1730 and decorated with armorials sell for a staggering £34,500.
Even more expensive, but many times more impressive was a pair of ormolu-mounted figures of a lion and a lioness modelled by the great Meissen artist Johann Joachim Kaendler in about 1748. Each an imposing six by eight inches, they were expected to fetch £25,000-35,000. They sold for £47,700.
Kaendler was sculptor at Augustus’s court and in 1731, Augustus installed him at Meissen to reorganise the modelling department. For the next 44 years Kaendler’s artistic genius, versatility and imagination brought the factory world renown.
Finding – and affording – original Kaendler pieces is the stuff of dreams. But there is hope for collectors of lesser means. Read more at www.WriteAntiques.com.