Makers & Retailers - Meissen

Meissen

Meissen porcelain was the first European hard-paste porcelain. Early experiments were done in 1708 by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. After his death that October, Johann Friedrich Böttger continued von Tschirnhaus’s work and brought this type of porcelain to the market which was financed by Augustus the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony. The production of porcelain in the royal factory at Meissen, near Dresden, Germany started in 1710. The factory attracted artists and artisans to establish their work which has become arguably the most famous porcelain manufacturer in the world. The Meissen signature and logo consists of a crossed swords mark which was introduced in 1720 to protect its production. Interestingly the mark of the crossed swords is known as one of the oldest trademarks in existence today. Dresden porcelain was once the usual term for these wares until in 1975 when the Higher Munich State Court (Oberlandesgericht) decided in favour of the Saxon Porcelain Manufactory Dresden. It was then that Dresden Porcelain was allowed sole use of the name (Dresden porcelain ceased production in 2020).

Meissen remained the dominant European porcelain factory throughout the first half of the 18th century, it was the leader of stylistic innovation in porcelain wares until it was briefly overtaken by the new styles introduced by the French Sèvres factory in the 1760s. Among the developments pioneered by Meissen are the porcelain figurines, and the introduction of European decorative styles to replace the imitation of Asian decoration of its earliest wares. Since 1991, the manufactory has been operating as the Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen GmbH, whose owner is the Free State of Saxony. The company is one of the world’s leading porcelain manufacturers and one of the oldest and most internationally known German luxury brands in existence.