Dinnerware – Dresden Style

What is generally referred to as “Dresden” china by collectors are the pieces that were produced by decorating studios operating in the city of Dresden, beginning in the early 19th century.  Most of these pieces are marked with some form of the “blue crown” stamp, first registered by Richard Klemm, Donath & Co., Oswald Lorenz, and Adolph Hamann in 1883.  Although there were over two hundred porcelain painting shops operating in Dresden between 1855 and 1944, only a handful attained a significant degree of prominence, including Franziska Hirsch, Ambrosius Lamm, Carl Thieme andHelena Wolfsohn. 

“Dresden style,” on the other hand, refers to the artistic technique employed by these decorators.  Art historians describe the style as “Rococo revival,” referring to a romantic movement originating in France during the Renaissance.  Rococo comes from the French word “rocaille” meaning rock work or grotto work, and refers to the artificial grottoes used in French gardens that were decorated with irregularly shaped stones and seashells.  Decorators in Dresden during the 19th century were the first to apply this style to porcelain, a colorful technique characterized by elaborate fanciful design and a profusion of foliage, flowers, fruits, shells and scrolls.  The Dresden style was also characterized by a profusion of intricate gold gilding that contrasted beautifully with the translucent whiteness of the porcelain.  The result was a literal feast for the eyes, a veritable banquet of brilliant colors and natural forms that many artists continued to imitate, even after the allied bombing of Dresden during World War II destroyed virtually the entire decorating industry in that city. 

Numerous manufacturers throughout Germany and Europe during the 19th and 20thcenturies evoked the “Dresden” name on their markings, for both recognition value and to suggest a particular style of decorating.  Some, of course, were more successful than others.  The most well known Dresden-style porcelain by far is that produced byCarl Schumann in Arzburg, Germany (Bavaria) beginning in 1844.  However, there were many other manufacturers who became highly skilled in imitating the Dresden style, and in some cases, surpassed the quality of the original “Dresden” porcelain.  In many cases, even a trained eye would be hard pressed to distinguish between the two without looking at the marks.  Despite this, pieces produced in the Dresden style by other manufacturers are generally less expensive than the original “Dresden” pieces.  The Nacq Partners, Ltd. collection features works of some of the finest decorators in the Dresden style, including Carl Schumann, Heinrich & Co., and Henry Ohme