Porcelain, Room 1

Porcelain, often called "white gold," made its way to Europe in the 13th century. This material, known for its dense yet fragile nature and its pristine whiteness, quickly became a symbol of luxury and collectability. The secret of porcelain production remained a mystery to Europeans for centuries, a closely guarded secret in China, where its revelation was punishable by death.

Read more It wasn't until 1708 that Johann Friedrich Böttger, a court alchemist for Saxon Elector Augustus II, unraveled the composition needed to create porcelain. This breakthrough led to the establishing of the first European porcelain factory, Meissen, in the deserted Albrechtsburg Castle.

Advancements continued with the experimentation of firing temperatures and glazes, a glass-like coating essential for giving porcelain its characteristic shine; otherwise, it remains matte, known as "biscuit." Porcelain painting can be underglazed or overglazed, with the former offering durability and a wider color palette, though less enduring.

The exhibition hall showcases masterpieces fr om several renowned porcelain factories, including those from Copenhagen, Vienna, and London (Royal Doulton), alongside pieces from other European manufacturers. For a decade, the secret of porcelain making was closely guarded by Meissen artisans until Claude du Pocqué, a Saxon prince, managed to entice some of them to Vienna. This led to the establishment of the Vienna Porcelain Factory in 1718. By the mid-18th century, it was renamed the "Imperial State Manufactory," with the Babenberg dynasty's three-striped shield as its emblem. Viennese porcelain is known for its grandeur and vividness, portraying scenes from mythology, history, and popular art.

The Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactory, founded in 1775 under Queen Juliane Marie's patronage, continues to supply the Danish royal court. Its hallmark, the wavy lines, initially symbolized Denmark's maritime prowess and now also signifies the nation's historical connection to the sea. The pursuit of vibrant and diverse blue hues, reminiscent of Chinese porcelain, led to extensive experimentation with cobalt, culminating in the renowned "mussel blue" color.

An exceptional faience rabbit, reminiscent of Russian folk art, reflects the influence of Dutch Delft porcelain, which inspired the famous blue Gzhel patterns in Russia.

In 1901, London's Doulton&Co earned a royal warrant, signifying its supply to the British royal court and adding "Royal" to its name. Influenced by the medieval Chinese flambé technique, which produced porcelain with a fiery red glaze, the company's art director John Slater, and artist Charles John Noke, along with chemist Cuthbert Bailey and ceramist Bernard Moore, embarked on a quest to replicate this technique. Their success was first showcased in 1904 at the St. Louis exhibition, wh ere the flambé works, also known as "oxblood," featured landscapes and scenes set against a vibrant background.

Each item in this hall is a testament to the relentless pursuit and bold experimentation that shaped the art of porcelain making, embodying years of dedicated craftsmanship and artistic genius.

 'Porcelain figure “Two monkeys”'
Porcelain figure “Two monkeys”
 'Faience figure “The hare”'
Faience figure “The hare”
 'Ash tray “Cancer”'
Ash tray “Cancer”
 'Porcelain figure “Sailor”'
Porcelain figure “Sailor”
 'Porcelain figure “Rest on the hayfield”'
Porcelain figure “Rest on the hayfield”
 'Porcelain figure “Playing bear cub”'
Porcelain figure “Playing bear cub”
 'Vase “Oriental cherry”'
Vase “Oriental cherry”
 'Flambe vase “Rural landscape”'
Flambe vase “Rural landscape”
 'Flambe vase “Hay harvest”'
Flambe vase “Hay harvest”
 'Flambe vase “Sailing vessel”'
Flambe vase “Sailing vessel”
 'Vase “Blackberry”'
Vase “Blackberry”
 'Vase “Blooming peas”'
Vase “Blooming peas”
 'Plateau “Venus and Adonis”'
Plateau “Venus and Adonis”
 'Plateau "The rape of Orithyia”'
Plateau "The rape of Orithyia”
 'Plateau “Angelica and Medoro”'
Plateau “Angelica and Medoro”
 'Plateau “Artemis”'
Plateau “Artemis”
 'Porcelain figure “Fish saleswoman”'
Porcelain figure “Fish saleswoman”
 'Salad bowl (a set of two)'
Salad bowl (a set of two)