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Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Meissen Porcelain (Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen) is one of the preeminent porcelain factories in Europe and was the first to produce true porcelain outside of Asia. It was established in 1710 under the auspices of King Augustus II “the Strong” of Saxony-Poland (1670–1733), a keen collector of Asian ceramics, particularly Ming porcelain.

In pursuing his passion, which he termed his “maladie de porcelaine,” Augustus spent vast sums, amassing some 20,000 pieces of Japanese and Chinese ceramics. These, along with examples of early Meissen, comprise the Porzellansammlung, or porcelain collection, of the Zwinger Palace, in Dresden.

The king was determined, however, to free the European market from its dependence on Asian imports and to give European artisans the freedom to create their own porcelain designs. To this end, he charged the scientist Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus and aspiring alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger with the task of using local materials to produce true, hard-paste porcelain (as opposed to the soft-paste variety European ceramists in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and Spain had been producing since the late Renaissance). In 1709, the pair succeeded in doing just that, employing kaolin, or “china clay.” A year later, the Meissen factory was born.

In its first decades, Meissen mostly looked to Asian models, producing wares based on Japanese Kakiemon ceramics and pieces with Chinese-inflected decorations called chinoiserie. During the 1720s its painters drew inspiration from the works of Watteau, and the scenes of courtly life, fruits and flowers that adorned fashionable textiles and wallpaper. It was in this period that Meissen introduced its famous cobalt-blue crossed swords logo — derived from the arms of the Elector of Saxony as Arch-Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire — to distinguish its products from those of competing factories that were beginning to spring up around Europe.

By the 1730s, Meissen’s modelers and decorators had mastered the style of Asian ceramics, and Augustus encouraged them to develop a new, original aesthetic. The factory’s director, Count Heinrich von Brühl, used Johann Wilhelm Weinmann’s botanical drawings as the basis for a new line of wares with European-style surface decoration. The Blue Onion pattern (Zwiebelmuster), first produced in 1739, melded Asian and European influences, closely following patterns used in Chinese underglaze-blue porcelain, but replacing exotic flora and fruits with Western varieties (likely peaches and pomegranates, not onions) along with peonies and asters.

During the same period, head modeler Joachim Kändler (1706–75) began crafting delicate porcelain figures derived from the Italian commedia dell’arte. Often used as centerpieces on banquet tables and decorated to reflect the latest fashions in courtly dress for men and women, these figurines were popular in their day, and are still considered among Meissen’s most iconic creations. Kändler also created the Swan Service, which, with its complex low-relief surface design and minimal decoration is considered a masterpiece of Baroque ceramics.

The rise of Neoclassicism in the latter half of the 18th century forced Meissen to change artistic direction and begin producing monumental vases, clocks, chandeliers and candelabra. In the 20th century, Meissen added to its 18th-century repertoire decidedly modern designs, including ones in the Art Nouveau style. The 1920s saw the introduction of numerous animal figures, such as the popular sea otter (Fischotter), which graced an East German postage stamp in the 1960s. Starting in 1933, artistic freedom was limited at the factory under the Nazi regime, and after World War II, when the region became part of East Germany, it struggled to reconcile its elite past with the values of the Communist government. In 1969, however, new artistic director Karl Petermann reintroduced the early designs and fostered a new degree of artistic license. Meissen became one of the few companies to prosper in East Germany.

Owned by the State of Saxony since reunification, in 1990, Meissen continues to produce its classic designs together with new ones developed collaboratively with artists from all over the world. In addition, through its artCAMPUS program, the factory has invited distinguished ceramic artists, such as Chris Antemann and Arlene Shechet, to work in its studios in collaboration with its skilled modelers and painters. The resulting works of contemporary sculpture are inspired by Meissen’s rich and complex legacy.

Find a collection of authentic Meissen Porcelain on 1stDibs.

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Creator: Meissen Porcelain
Meissen Splendour Clock 'The Four Seasons' by E.A. Leuteritz, Around 1880
By Ernst August Leuteritz, Meissen Porcelain
Located in Vienna, AT
The clock case was designed by Ernst August Leuteritz using old moulds in the Rococo style: The clock case rises on a base with gold-highlighted rocailles, richly decorated with deli...
Category

1880s German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen clock garniture, 19th Century
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Brighton, Sussex
A very impressive, fine quality 19th Century Meissen porcelain clock garniture, having putti surround the clock and pair of candelabra representing the four seasons, the enamel clock...
Category

19th Century German Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Art Déco Mantle Clock with Two Putti by Paul Scheurich 1934-1947
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Vienna, AT
Excellent Meissen Rococo Style Piece of Art: On a curved base plate with diamond pattern in marble look, sculptured cushions with tassel decoration, on the side seated figures, girl ...
Category

Early 20th Century German Rococo Revival Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Porcelain

Meissen Splendour Clock With Flora And Flowers By J.J. Kaendler, Gernamy Ca 1860
By Meissen Porcelain, Johann Joachim Kaendler
Located in Vienna, AT
Clock case rising on a column with a three-passage base, richly decorated with rocailles and delicate, plastically formed flowers and leaves surrounding the dial, crowned by a flora...
Category

1860s German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Porcelain

Large Rococo Style Porcelain Mantel Clock by Meissen
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in London, GB
Large Rococo style porcelain mantel clock by Meissen German, 19th century Measures: Height 66cm, width 33cm, depth 25cm This superb mantel clock is a truly wonderful example of ...
Category

19th Century German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Porcelain

A Very Large Rare Meissen Porcelain 3 Piece Clock & Candelabra Garniture Set
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in New York, NY
A Very Large and Rare German Ormolu Mounted Meissen Porcelain Three Piece Clock & Candelabra Garniture Set. This impressive set consists of three pieces: a center clock and two candelabras, each adorned with the most intricate and delicate details that have been executed to perfection. Each three armed candelabra is remarkably elaborate with foliate arms that are embellished with gilt-covered beautifully twisted branches and curling leaves on an ornate botanically-inspired base. Embraced by the arms of the candelabras are two 18th Century Meissen Porcelain figures of musical lovers, dressed in brightly detailed traditional clothes. The round clock face, with roman numerals, a white base, and ornate hands is surrounded by a flourish of gorgeous gilt foliage, exuding an air of elegance and refinement. Perched atop the clock is a stunning Meissen Porcelain figurine of a beautiful woman posed in mid-movement, her dress aflutter, and baring her leg as she gazes up at her left hand which is holding a bunch of grapes, while also grasping a wine goblet in her lowered right hand, representing the festivities of the moment. Surrounding the clock and extending down both sides the gilt foliate leads the eye to two cherubs each admiring tiny vases of exquisitely detailed flowers. Below the cherubs, on either side, are four white ceramic pillars...
Category

1760s German Louis XVI Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Bronze

19th Century Meissen clock depicting the four seasons.
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Brighton, Sussex
A fine quality late 19th Century German, Meissen porcelain clock on stand, having wonderful bold traditional colours, the figures representing the four seasons. The clock striking on...
Category

19th Century German Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Porcelain

French 19th Century Louis XV St. Meissen Porcelain and Ormolu Clock
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
An exceptional and most decorative French 19th century Louis XV st. Meissen porcelain and ormolu clock signed Meissen and Crosnier. The clock is raised by a beautiful scrolled ground...
Category

19th Century French Louis XV Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Ormolu

19th C. Meissen Porcelain Rococo 4 Seasons Clock & Candelabra Garniture Set
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in New York, NY
An impressive and rare 19th century Meissen Porcelain four seasons clock and Candelabra Garniture set. Comprised of three individual pieces, which in...
Category

19th Century German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Bronze

Meissen Porcelain Clock Putti Reading a Book
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Los Angeles, CA
19th century German Meissen Porcelain figural mantle clock. Seated figure of a nude Putti reading a book with his left arm resting on the clock tower, the tower is topped with a robe, instruments and artworks representing industry & the arts, at the top is a wreath and architects instruments...
Category

Late 19th Century German Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Porcelain

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Previously Available Items
Meissen Splendour Clock with Flowers by J.J. Kaendler, Gernamy Around 1850
By Johann Joachim Kaendler, Meissen Porcelain
Located in Vienna, AT
Clock case rising on four gold heightened rocaille feet, richly decorated with delicate, vividly formed flowers, leaves and rocaille surrounding the dial, laterally pierced like a la...
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Porcelain

Meissen Splendour Clock with Gardener Figures by Leuteritz, Around 1880
By Ernst August Leuteritz, Meissen Porcelain
Located in Vienna, AT
The clock was designed by Leuteritz in the Rococo style using old moulds: The clock case rises on a rock base with gold-heightened rocailles, richly decorated with delicate, plasti...
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Meissen Tall Splendour Centerpiece with Cupids by Leuteritz, Around 1880
By Ernst August Leuteritz, Meissen Porcelain
Located in Vienna, AT
The centerpiece was designed by Leuteritz using old moulds in the Rococo style: a curved column rises on a rock base with gold rocailles, richly decorated with delicate, three-dimens...
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Large Meissen Splendour Clock with Jupiter Group by E.A. Leuteritz, circa 1860
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Located in Vienna, AT
The clock was designed by Leuteritz in the Rococo style using old moulds: on four raised volute feet with gold rocaille ornamentation rises the clock case, open at the side by a vo...
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Late 19th Century German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

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Meissen Splendour Clock with Gardener Figures by E.A. Leuteritz, circa 1880
By Ernst August Leuteritz, Meissen Porcelain
Located in Vienna, AT
The clock was designed by Leuteritz in the Rococo style using old moulds: the clock case rises on a rock base with gold rocailles, richly decorated with delicate, three-dimensional flowers, leaves and rocailles that play around the dial. Below three figures: a gardener sitting on the rock with a garland of flowers, in the middle a sitting girl with a basket richly filled with apples, pears and grapes on her lap, next to her a standing boy playing the flute. At the very top the clock is crowned by a seated boy holding a vine in his hands. White porcelain clock...
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Late 19th Century German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

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Porcelain

Meissen Art Deco Mantle Clock with Two Putti by Paul Scheurich, 1920-1924
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Vienna, AT
On a curved base plate with diamond pattern in marble look, sculptured cushions with tassel decoration, on the side seated figures, girl and boy, who gracefully carry the round clock...
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Early 20th Century German Rococo Revival Meissen Porcelain Clocks

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Meissen Splendour Clock with Gardener Figures by E.A. Leuteritz, circa 1880
By Ernst August Leuteritz, Meissen Porcelain
Located in Vienna, AT
The clock was designed by Leuteritz in Rococo style using old shapes: the clock case rises on a rock base with gold rocailles, richly decorated with delicate, three-dimensional flowers, leaves and rocailles that play around the dial. Below three figures: a gardener sitting...
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Porcelain Mantel Clock, Meissen, Germany, 18th Century
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Glazed porcelain, metal, glass. The base of the watch has lines with pronounced curves and outstanding movement, in the line of Rococo works of the 18th century, and has been enhanc...
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18th Century German Neoclassical Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

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Prometheus Porcelain Mantle Clock by Meissen
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This incredible porcelain mantel clock by the legendary Meissen firm depicts the Greek myth of Prometheus' rescue by Hercules as described in the tale of the hero's 12 Labors. The em...
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19th Century Porcelain Four Seasons Clock by Meissen
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This ornate Meissen porcelain mantel pendulum clock showcases the company's mastery of allegorical themes with its striking depiction of the Four Seasons. Winter is enveloped in a wa...
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19th Century Meissen Porcelain Cherub Mantel Clock
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19th century Meissen Porcelain cherub mantel or table clock. Free shipping within the United States and Canada.
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19th Century German Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Meissen Porcelain clocks for sale on 1stDibs.

Meissen porcelain clocks are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of porcelain and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Meissen Porcelain clocks, although beige editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original clocks by Meissen Porcelain were created in the Rococo style in europe during the 19th century. Prices for Meissen Porcelain clocks can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $8,500 and can go as high as $225,000, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $18,883.
Questions About Meissen Porcelain Clocks
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    To spot a fake Meissen, first, check the maker’s mark, generally found on the bottom of the porcelain. Meissen used a simple mark, so if you spot one that appears too embellished, it may be a fake. Shop a collection of properly vetted Meissen porcelain from some of the world’s top dealers on 1stDibs.

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