Earning a legendary reputation after over 250 years of superior porcelain production, KPM Berlin and Chinese porcelain are considered among the finest in the world in terms of quality, creativity, and history. Almost exclusively crafted by hand in classic forms, KPM porcelain has become synonymous with beautiful and timeless pieces that possess a character that surpasses their mere practical uses. A lasting expression of individuality and luxury, KPM Berlin porcelain remains highly desirable and treasured today.
Before the 14th century, porcelain objects did not exist in Europe. The art of producing porcelain was a closely held secret in China, and was considered a rarity that signified great luxury. To Europeans, porcelain was a dazzling symbol of the exotic; the splendor of hard-paste porcelain was unlike anything Europe had seen before. As European fascination with Chinese porcelain increased, so did their desire to replicate the process of porcelain production themselves. European artisans were ultimately successful in the early 18th century, beginning a new era of decorative arts in Europe.
A few decades later, KPM Berlin would emerge as a major player on the porcelain scene. Prussian King, Frederick The Great, a sovereign with a great taste for finery, he purchased a small porcelain factory in 1763, and named it The Royal Porcelain Factory in Berlin (Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin). Gaining almost immediate success and acclaim, the factory appropriate the royal spectre as its symbol, a hallmark that still exists today. Customers such as the Duke of Kurland, various Tsars in Russia, and even Frederick himself helped propel the KPM name all over Europe. KPM porcelain established itself on the foundation of excellent decorative techniques, high quality porcelain, and timeless designs – characteristics of the name that prevail into today.
Of the many different types of objects that KPM produced, their cup and saucer services are among the most exemplary of the company’s fine style and design. Their micromosaic imitation pieces in particular were heralded for their remarkable creativity and exceptional skill. A technique perfected in Ancient Rome, the micromiosaic technique of forming images from tiny pieces of marble and glass re-emerged during the 19th century as affluent tourists participated in the Grand Tour. KPM Berlin developed a hand-painted technique that mimicked these popular ancient Roman micromosaics and Florentine pietre dure. Upon first glance, the workmanship is so flawless in its precision that it is nearly impossible to detect the motif is actually painted upon the porcelain.
Emblematic of the factory’s creativity, this rich blue cup and saucer imitates the micromosaic style that was popular at the time. In depicting this manner of micromosaics, this exceptional set features the skillful imitation of precious lapis-lazuli stones in a hand-painted style. This design is rendered with such incredible skill and attention to detail that only the most talented artists could achieve. The result – a shimmering blue surface completed by a medallion of the ancient Doves and Pliny on the cup and a delicate songbird on the saucer.
Similarly, this KPM cup and saucer presents unprecedented quality and enormous skill in micromosaic imitation. Luxurious gilding, emblematic of the popular neoclassical style of the period, and stunning hand-painted decoration in a rich red mark the piece as a true rarity. A medallion of two different birds against a rust background offer evidence of incredible skill and the illusion of separate pieces of glass. The decorative motif of birds saw a renewal in popularity during this time.
Exhibiting the high standard of KPM porcelain production, this vibrant gold colored cup and saucer denotes high levels of precision in yet another micromosaic imitation. Exquisitely painted songbirds envelop the border of the plate while Ancient Roman structures are delicately painted on the cup. These flawless designs epitomize the KPM style of the painted micromosaic style and the incredible talent of the factory’s artisans.