A little about me .... My name is Andy, and I manage "Meissen Porcelain & Antiques". My interest in the visual arts dates back many years . As a young man, before I came to the United States I had collected some minor examples of European porcelain. Much later in 1982, I began to acquire a few pieces of antique Meissen porcelain after visiting a few Antique Stores in Chicago. Collecting has consumed most of my time and thoughts for more than two decades, since I began learning as a child at the side of my father.As the collection began to grow, my interest gradually began to focus on fine art and antiques, not only on porcelain. And when it has finally taken shape as a mirror of all ages and cultures, I feel an obligation to it and wish to share my experience and collection with all others who appreciate the art of collecting. What I know, there is no easy way to learn about antiques. The price of an antique and its value are really two different though related topics for the knowledgeable buyer to consider. Value in an antique is established by the qualities inherent in the object itself, or in its history.
Value in an antique is established by the qualities inherent in the object itself, or in its history. These may be a combination of any of the following factors: rarity, condition, beauty, historical importance, or even who owned it. True art has nothing to do with age. Age alone does not necessarily make a thing valuable. It usually needs, also, to be good of its kind. There are two basic reasons for buying fine arts and antiques: because you like them, or because you may hope to make money out of them. Buy what you love, all art of fine quality is a good investment. Buy what delights your senses and stimulates your imagination. Fine art is like a good marriage - it should provide daily pleasure, be full of constant surprises and offer the thrill of rediscovering your initial attraction over and over again.The price of certain classes of antiques and fine arts having risen rapidly in recent years, it has been possible with little effort and less learning to make handsome profits over a short term. And remember, if you know that $ 100.00 is a fair price to pay for the art that you want, don't offer $ 25.00 for it. First of all, you'll never own any art, second you'll waste everyone's time, including your own.
............The output of white porcelain in the early years was limited and it was not until 1713. Porcelain of the early period (1713-1720) has been called "Böttger porcelain". Fine lacework borders and overall scroll designs in gold were used in the decoration. Meissen's chinoiserie period began in the 1720s with the arrival from Vienna of Johann Gregor Höroldt who brought with him superior skills in enamel painting on porcelain. His contribution to Meissen was to develop a palette of very fine bright enamel colors and that were new to on glaze enamel colors on porcelain. In 1724/1725 Höroldt compiled a sketchbook, the so-called Schultz-Codex, containing more than thousand drawings with Chinese themes. Of 36 painters working for Höroldt in 1731, there were four who particularly close to him in style: J.C.Horn, B.G. Hauer, P.E. Schindler, J.E. Stadler and C.F. Herold. A.F. Lowenfinck's manner should also be seen in this context. In the early years the production consisted mainly of tea and coffee services. The porcelain had the early creamy appearance, which was only gradually replaced by the white. In addition to chinoiseries, another decorative theme favored at Meissen during the 1720's and 1730's was the harbor scene. Polychrome or monochromatic views of harbors with ships, wharfs, dockside warehouses, and bales of cargo were typical. At times, harbor scenes were done in pseudo-Oriental or Near Eastern settings, the figures being clothed in Oriental as well as European styles. Some harbor scenes are attributed to C. F. Herold (1700-1779) who was one of the outstanding painters at Meissen from 1725 to 1778.
During the years 1720/23, the period of greatest success with underglaze blue, the motifs used at Meissen appear to have been inspired by Chinese and Japanese prototype. The strongest influences on Meissen was Japanese Kakiemon style and Imari type porcelain. "Kakiemono ware" has a very fine, white body, and is decorated in several characteristic enamels such as soft orange-red and sky-blue. Designs are delicate and restrained: they show a fine sense of composition using asymmetry of design in creative juxtaposition with empty space. While the term "Imari" in Meissen to designate a specific type of decoration with floral and geometrical designs that often cover most of the surface. The colors usually consisted of underglaze blue with iron-red and gold painted on the glaze. Other colors, such as black and sea-green, at times were added, and the decorations may imitate textile designs.
By the 1740's there is a change of scale in scenes painted . These subtle changes show the shift from baroque to rococo. Foliate patterns and flowers were always on important feature of decoration. On Böttger porcelain are found molded, as well as applied, floral patterns such as stylized acanthus and laurel leaves, Prunus and grapevines, and a variety of roses. "Indianische Blumen" flowers developed in the 1720's by Höroldt are part of chinoiserie and oriental decoration. In the late 1730's the "Holzschnittblumen" (woodcut flowers) copied from botanical illustrations were used. At times this type of flowers were accompanied by light shadows, birds and all manner of insects. In the mid 1740's the "Deutsche Blumen" flowers was introduced, and in the 1765 the " Naturliche Blumen" were used. Meissen's production in the first of the 18th century established and set the standard for porcelain production in Europe.
Impressed (No: 1 to 6) small crossed swords, as well as impressed pseudo-Chinese marks, and other impressed designs appear quite early about 1710 to 1720 on red stoneware pieces. Some of these marks on Bottger stoneware can be ascribed to special formers or turners. Beginning about 1735 certain impressed marks came into use on porcelain. Otto Walcha was able to attribute many of these to specific formers. In 1739 these formers marks were replaced by impressed numbers, metal dies were ordered for the impression of these numerals. Incised marks are also found on many pieces. These are located near the foot ring but only rarely on the inner side of it. Most of these Meissen marks date between 1725 and 1740 and are in the shape of one, two, or three short parallel lines, of crosses, of stars, and other designs. No: 7 to 12 are examples of the so-called lustre-marks, in pale brownish red with a mother-of-pearl reflection, produced by lightly firing writing-ink. No: 13 to 16 are imitation Chinese marks found on the blue and white porcelain of about 1720-25, and later. As early as 1721-22 the rare caduceus mark No: 17 appeared on some porcelain and to be applied occasionally until the early 1730's.
The first true Meissen factory marks in underglaze blue No:19 to 20 found in 1723-24. In 1723-24, the crossed swords mark appeared. At first the crossed swords were used in conjunction with the "KPM", but after 1724 they were applied alone to the present day. It occurs at first in overglaze enamel color, such as black, red, blue, etc. A wide variety of forms and sizes of the sword marks seem to have been applied at the same time, so that the characteristics of the marks often are not reliable for the dating of a piece. No:21 to 32 are early forms of the crossed swords, which tended to be carefully drawn, with pommels and curved guards, and to enclose a larger angle than the layer versions, but such forms occasionally occur later. Dots believed to have been used 1763-74, also may be found in the 1730's and also the star occurs much earlier than 1774. The gilt initials as in No:34 are perhaps gilder's mark, the numerals No: 31 and 36 have been declared to refer to the numbers in a pattern book of the gilt lace-work borders. But the most probable explanation of all these gilt and lustre marks they were intended for the guidance of warehouse-men and clerks and they perhaps corresponding to folios in order books. The blue signs, letters and numerals such as No:29 may in some cases be blue-painters' marks.
Rare Meissen porcelain marks "AR" No: 55 seems to have been
introduced in about 1723 and was still used in the mid-1730's and was applied especially to pieces belonging to the king or as gifts to other noblemen. No: 56 is a rare mark (Frederick Augustus II) occur only on pieces made in the short period in 1733. No: 58 is a mark on the tea-pot with powder blue ground and to be a mark of Herold himself. No: 59 to 61 are believed to be signatures of Adam Friedrich von Lowenfinck. Some of the wares used in the royal palaces were marked by overglaze letters painted in purple or black - No: 62 to 64. Mark No: 66 is an unexplained mark. No:67 the so-called "Johanneum marks" are inventory numbers painted in black, or cut through the glaze with a glass cuter's wheel and blackened. The term "Johanneum" was taken from the building in Dresden to which the royal collection was moved in 1875-76.
All of the provided information on Meissen marks is taken from two books: Dresden China by William B Honey and The Catalogue of The Hans Syz Collection by Hans Syz and Rainer Ruckert.
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