Porcelain – White Gold

10.07.2009 - 25.10.2009
Tue–Sun 10am–5pm
Museum Bellerive

In the 13th century, so-called “china” reached Europe and was in many respects considered such a treasure that it was called “white gold”. In Baroque times, it was a coveted luxury good and adorned many a cabinet of European royalty. Until then it had been imported in large quantities from China, but by then people here made every effort to establish their own manufacture and production. At the beginning of the 18th century, they finally achieved a breakthrough and porcelain was, for the first time, also produced in Europe, or more precisely, in Meissen, whose porcelain factory will celebrate its 300 Year Jubilee in 2010. Porcelain is a luxury good that, to this very day, people spend quite a lot on. Tableware as well as representative and unique works were popular gifts among the aristocracy and this very fact changed culinary and dining habits. Large factories such as Meissen, Nymphenburg, Hutschenreuther, or the world-famous Hungarian Herend Manufactory had their heydays in the 19th century. While porcelain was once reserved to aristocratic circles and demonstratively elaborate and artistic in its design, its use and renown completely changed with the onset of industrialization: porcelain had reached middle-class sitting rooms. Once the precious luxury goods at royal courts, it now turned into mass goods. It is fascinating to see what possibilities this material offers.