Meissen Marcolini Period c. 1780’s Small Dish


The factory at Meissen Germany, twelve miles from Dresden, founded in 1710, was under the direction of Johann Friedrich Boettger until his death in 1719. Under him were made the hard red stoneware and the beautiful warm-toned or ‘smoky’ white porcelain that were called by his name.

After a period of disorganisation before and following Boettger’s death, the factory war reformed, and in 1720 placed in charge of a colour-chemist named Johann Gregor Herold (II. Period 1720-35). Besides preparing a palette of enamels with which copies of Chinese and Japanese wares were made, Herold introduced from about 1725 onwards a new type of decoration, of pseudo-Chinese figures in brilliant colours, framed in intricate Baroque scrollwork in gold and lustre. In the same period the slightly decorated Japanese ‘Kakiemon’ porcelain was copied and adapted.

Herold was not, however, able to keep his responsible position overlong. For as tasted altered, different artistic requirements were set and more originality exacted, his ability did not prove itself equal to this task. He was put into the back-ground by Kaendler (III. Period 1735-56) who artistically was far above him. This made a great change in the character of the ornamentation of the articles made in Meissen. The oriental manner of decorating flat surfaces was more and more left in the back-ground and plastic ornamentation came into vogue.

The seven years’ war (IV. Period 1756-63) caused not only incalculable pecuniary loss to the Meissen factory, but very greatly increased the number of competitors.

By the end of the War Meissen had lost its lead to Berlin, and thenceforward for many years created little or nothing truly original (V. ‘Academic or Dot Period’ 1764-1774). A French sculptor, M.V. Acier, was installed by Kaendler’s side as an independent Modellmeister, and the design department was placed in charge of J.E. Schoenau, who had studied in Paris during the War.

In 1774 Count Camillo Marcolini was appointed Director and attempted to restore the factory to its former prosperity ( VI. Marcolini Period 1774 – 1817).

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