Alexander Westerhoff is off to Dresden, Meissen and Berlin, Germany to celebrate the 300 Year Anniversary of Meissen Porcelain. Meissen which was the first European Hard Paste Porcelain is still considered by many to be the finest procelain manufacture in the world. Originally begun under the reign of King August the Strong, Meissen porcelain was essentially an accident produced in the process of an imprisoned alchemist’s dream to fire and create gold. This “accident” awarded Johann Friedrich Bottger the very first hard paste porcelain production in Europe on January 15, 1708 and the first “white-based” porcelain going into full production at the Albrechtsburg Castle in Meissen (near Dresden) in 1710.
Alexander Westerhoff has been collecting Meissen Porcelain since he was a child, focusing on rare and period pieces. His first major acquisition was that of a pair of 18th Century White Meissen Swan pitchers from the original Schwanenservice “Swan Service” made for Count Bruhl in the 1740’s. But this excursion to German will not only benefit Westerhoff as this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see many of the Meissen treasures being exhibited in museum as well as private collections but Alexander will be researching his pride and joy, the Early 19th Century Neoclassical Centerpiece pictured above. This incredible piece in hardpaste porcelain, bisquit, gilded and painted was created in 1811, most likely for a Royal Collection. As of yet, the drawings and provenance have not been researched at the Meissen factory. Alexander hopes to be able to accomplish this necessary academic cataloging this week. What adds to this piece’s importance is that the bisquit figures are unglazed though they have a very natural shine which makes them appear glazed. Meissen discovered a rare clay soil right around the time of the manufacture of this piece which exudes a natural glazing in the firing process. An extreme rarity.
Good luck Alex on your trip to the land of your birth. And bring us back some knowledge!