early Meissen marks Meissen Porcelain

Early Meissen marks.

Meissen marks-Examples and History

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.

The 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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