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Meissen

Meissen is a small town in Germany on the Elbe river in Saxony which is famous for the production of porcelain. It dates back to the early 18th century when the alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger discovered the formula for producing hard-paste porcelain which was previously unknown to Europeans.

The Meissen factory is generally regarded to be the first producer of true hard paste porcelain in Europe. It was established in 1710 in the town of Meissen in Saxony under the auspices of the state’s ruler, the Elector Augustus the Strong.

Some of the designs have been in continuous use since the 18th century and many of the ornamental wares and figures were originally inspired by the oriental prototypes they sought to emulate. However, over the years, European subjects and decoration became increasingly important.


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Brueghel’s ‘own view’ of everyday Dutch rural life

27 September 2021

Numerous international bidders set their sights on a tondo by Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564-1638).

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White gloves for Oppenheimer sale of Meissen porcelain at Sotheby’s

20 September 2021

Every lot of a collection of Meissen porcelain, restituted earlier this year to the heirs of Dr Franz Oppenheimer, was sold in a recent US sale.

Bottger Meissen tea set

Pick of the week: Meissen made with a homely touch

06 September 2021

This near-complete Böttger Meissen tea set, c.1725, came for sale at Keys of Aylsham on September 1.

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Oppenheimer collection at Sotheby's includes Meissen created for founder of the factory Augustus the Strong

30 August 2021

On September 14 Sotheby’s New York will be offering a select auction of early Meissen porcelain that includes pieces created for the collections of Augustus the Strong, who founded the famous factory.

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Meissen plaque catches the eye after being offered without reserve

09 August 2021

This large 19th century Meissen plaque with an allegory of summer caught the eye of numerous bidders at Metz (25% buyer’s premium).

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Al Thani's 18th century day bed rises way above estimate at Sotheby's sale

26 July 2021

Ornate piece of c.1780 furniture from sheikh’s collection heads a sell-out auction

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Teapots to the Kate Foster taste

12 July 2021

These two teapots – among the top-selling lots at the Woolley & Wallis (25/12% buyer's premium) sale of English and European Ceramics and Glass on June 16 – came for sale from the family of Lady Kate Davson, known to many by her maiden name of Kate Foster (1938-2020).

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Belting Belk Gambrell ceramics selection

12 July 2021

European ceramics from renowned US collector come to the New York rostrum.

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Bureau cabinet rated highly as Mainz ‘masterpiece’ example

31 May 2021

Distinctive bureau cabinet form could have been intended for presentation to the guild.

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Early spectacles catch the eye in saleroom

24 May 2021

While Georgian spectacles are relatively common at auction, 17th century examples are a rarer beast.

Meissen clock

Rare $2m Meissen collection restituted to Jewish family comes to market in New York this autumn

28 April 2021

A collection of Meissen porcelain assembled by the Oppenheimer family and recently restituted to their heirs is coming to auction this September.

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Meissen makes sizeable impact

19 April 2021

Second slice from Ducret collection plus other sources achieve high prices in Zurich

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Meissen blog relaunched

19 April 2021

Dealer Lawrence Mitchell has repurposed his blog, themeissenman.com, to help collectors and salerooms distinguish between authentic and imitation pieces.

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Meissen hoopoe offered in Virginia

18 January 2021

The 650-lot auction at Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Falls Church, Virginia, on January 30 features items from several local properties.

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Meissen porcelain goes into battle

11 January 2021

The rules of kriegsspiel (war game), popular at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, were partly based on the much older game of chess. Typically, kriegsspiel was played across three boards, with players only knowing the position of their own pieces and an umpire officiating.

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Remembering the ‘happy’ jester

28 September 2020

Joseph Fröhlich (1694-1757) was a well-known figure at the Saxon court from the late 1720s onwards. He was appointed court jester to Augustus the Strong in 1727 and held the position for three decades – perfect for a man whose family name translates as ‘happy’.

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Coronation service among European porcelain highlights at Swiss sale

14 September 2020

A 176-lot group of Meissen and other European porcelain from the collection of Dr Siegfried Ducret, consigned from the estate of Rosmarie Schmidt-Ducret, will be offered at auction by Koller in Zurich on September 24.

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Parkland teapot

24 August 2020

This Meissen porcelain teapot from c.1722 will feature in the sale series to be held by Hargesheimer of Dusseldorf from September 10-12.

Böttger bottle vase

Meissen makes a big impact in private collection sale

25 July 2020

A very early and delicate Böttger Stoneware covered bottle vase featured in the Important Meissen Porcelain from a Private Collection auction at Bonhams in London sold for a hammer price of £105,000.

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Flamboyant Meissen ewer draws strong bidding at Wendl

20 July 2020

There is absolutely no way that one can describe the decoration of a late 19th century Meissen ewer sold by Wendl (21% buyer’s premium) in Rudolstadt as restrained.