Dresden/Meissen
“Dresden porcelain” refers more to an artistic movement than a particular line of figurines or dinnerware. Several decorating studios emerged in this Saxony capital in response to the rise of “Romanticism” during the 19th century. Dresden was an important center of this artistic, cultural and intellectual movement, which attracted painters, sculptors, poets, philosophers and porcelain decorators alike.
In 1883, in response to the exciting developments happening all around them, four prominent ceramic decorators registered the famous blue crown Dresden mark, and the widely popular “Dresden style” was born. Much confusion exists concerning the relationship between the names “Dresden” and “Meissen,” which are often used interchangeably. This misunderstanding dates to the earliest years of porcelain production in Europe. The secret of hard paste porcelain, previously the exclusive knowledge of the Chinese and Japanese exporters, was actually discovered under the commission of Augustus the Strong in the city of Dresden.
The first porcelain-producing factory, however, was begun fifteen miles away in the city of Meissen, in 1710. However, as Dresden was a vital cultural and economic center of Saxony, most Meissen china was sold there. While the work of Dresden decorators often rivaled that produced in Meissen, no actual porcelain was produced in Dresden. In a single night, most Dresden decorating studios were obliterated along with many historical documents, and the porcelain painting business has never fully recovered. However, owing largely to the vast popularity of the Dresden style, much of it remains preserved in antique shops and private collections around the world.

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