Berlin box

Berlin box

Berlin box - 4" (101 mm) square.


Not many potteries can claim a lineage like that of the Berlin factory. It was set up by none less than Frederick the Great in 1763 as the Berlin Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (Berlin Royal Porcelain Factory). The company produced neo-classical designs and then Empire style. It weathered occupation by the French in 1806 and after the defeat of Napoleon started to make increasingly ornate and elaborate pieces. It produced goods for the crowned heads of Europe and included the Duke of Wellington and the Russian Imperial court in its list of end users.

By the middle of the nineteenth century the company was producing goods for people with less extravagant taste, and these lines ran alongside the more flamboyant merchandise. The company was criticized in 1878 for becoming complacent and the director of research, Hermann Seger (the inventor of Seger cones), made some radical changes. He introduced a new soft paste which was better able to take a wide range of colours, and developed sang-de-boeuf and a two-layer crackle glaze.

The company continued to prosper through the turn of the century and into the lead-up to the First World War produced figures of animals and children. Between the wars the factory changed hands twice but maintained its reputation and in 1937 won the Grand Prix at the Paris Exposition.

The company's various buildings suffered damage in the Second World War, but normal production resumed in the second half of the century, during which new styles were introduced and the traditional elaborate designs continued.

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