In October 1767, the most famous KPM service was ordered by the Frederick the Great: ‘mit vergoldeten antiquen Zieraten u. blauem Mosaique, gemahlt mit natürlichen Blumen und Guirlanden’ – the Breslauer Stadtschloss Service. On white glazed ground, a composition of freely scattered, picturesque flowers with natural coloring. Symmetrically arranged, swinging garlands adorn the four blue mosaic fields.
The 40-piece service is suitable for 6 people and comprises following pieces:
1 coffee pot; height: 23,5 cm
1 tea pot; height: 17,4 cm
1 sugar bowl
1 sauce boat
6 cups including matching saucers
2 oval serving dishes, various sizes
1 circular serving plate; Ø: 31.7 cm
2 curved bowls, various sizes
6 starter plates; Ø: 20.6 cm
6 soup bowls including 6 matching saucers
6 dinner plates; Ø: 25.8 cm
6 dessert plates; Ø:18.5 cm
Cf. Erich Köllmann and Margarete Jarchow, Berliner Porzellan, Munich 1987, vol. II, p. 438, ill. 266.
The service is in very good condition with barely any signs of age and wear.
Friedrich Elias Meyer, the Elder (circa 1723-1785)
Born as the son of the sculptor Matthias Meyer in Erfurt, Friedrich Elias first trained with the court sculptor Michael Grünbeck in Gotha. In 1741, he began working as a court sculptor for Henry I of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen. After that he went to the Court Wettin in Weimar. Two study trips financed by Ernst August I. took him to Berlin and Dresden. In 1746/47, he was involved in the furnishings of the new Dresden's Baroque castle. In 1748, Meyer went to the porcelain factory in Meissen, being in charge of the design and model development. In 1761, he changed to the KPM in Berlin; there he worked as a model master along with his brother Wilhelm Christian. Among other models, Meyer designed the forms ‘Reliefzierat’, ‘Neuzierat’, ‘Antikzierat’ and ‘Neuosier’ for the dinner and dessert services commissioned by Frederick I. In 1782, he was appointed professor to the Preussische Akademie der Künste und mechanischen Wissenschaften.
Royal Porcelain Factory (KPM)
The first porcelain manufactory at Berlin was founded on the suggestion of Frederick the Great by Wilhelm Caspar Wegely and J. Benckgraff in 1752, yet already 5 years later production was stopped because the king was not satisfied with the porcelain. With the invasion of Meissen by the Prussian army, many modelers and porcelain painters came to Berlin, where in 1761 the merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky founded a new factory. This was finally bought in 1763 by Frederick the Great, who named it ‘Royal Porcelain Factory’ and introduced the cobalt blue scepter mark. During this time, the factory began producing exquisite tableware in a late Rococo style, which was painted with flowers, birds and scenes after Watteau Boucher and Dutch masters in vivid colors. Famous porcelain painters of the manufactory were K. W. Böhme, B. Böhme and K. J. C. Klipfel; master modelers were Friedrich Elias Meyer and his brother Wilhelm Christian. Typical Berlin porcelain patterns on tableware were moldings, scale-ground borders, landscapes, birds and animals, molded basketwork patterns and pierced rims. After Theodor Schmuz-Baudiß took over as artistic director in 1798, the tableware was decorated in underglaze painting with landscapes and cityscapes in delicate colors. In 1871 the factory was moved to its present location at the Tiergarten near the Spree, so that the raw materials and finished products were finally able to be transported by ship. In 1886 the painting of porcelain tiles was added as a new line of production under the direction of Professor Alexander Kips. After the destruction of the factory during WWII, KPM was taken over in 1988 by the state of Berlin and since 2006 has been in the possession of Berlin based private banker Jörg Woltmann.