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Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Meissen Porcelain (Germany, 1710–)
Meissen Porcelain (Germany, 1710–)

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 chinoiseries. 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, they were popular in their day, and are still considered among of 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.

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French 19th Century Louis XV Style Porcelain and Ormolu Clock
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
An attractive and high-quality French 19th century Louis XV style porcelain and ormolu clock signed Meissen. The clock is raised by a stunning pierced ormolu base with scrolled desig...
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19th Century French Louis XVI Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Ormolu

Meissen Splendour Clock with Gardener Figures by E.A. Leuteritz, circa 1880
By Meissen Porcelain, Ernst August Leuteritz
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 f...
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Late 19th Century German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

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Large Meissen Splendour Clock with Jupiter Group by E.A. Leuteritz, circa 1860
By Meissen Porcelain, Ernst August Leuteritz
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

Materials

Porcelain

19th Century Meissen Porcelain Mantel Clock
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Brighton, Sussex
A fine quality late 19th century Meissen Porcelain mantel clock, having Zeus seated above the white enamel clock face, with garlands of flowers surrounding; on the base, Cronus and H...
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19th Century German Classical Greek Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Porcelain

Mantel Clock Meissen Hard, Paste Porcelain, 1745-1755
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Lantau, HK
The clock was modeled by Johann-Joachim Kaendler, the Meissen Manufacturer’s most important modeler and designer. Its rocaille style demonstrates the influence of the Rococo trend p...
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18th Century French Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

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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 ...
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19th Century German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

Materials

Porcelain

German Rococo Style Three-Piece Porcelain Clock Set by Meissen
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in London, GB
The German porcelain factory at Meissen was renowned throughout the 18th and 19th century for the quality and intricacy of its porcelain, and this stunning clock set amply demonstrat...
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19th Century German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

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Porcelain

Meissen Gorgeous Table or Mantle Clock circa 1870
By Meissen Porcelain
Located in Vienna, AT
MARKS: THIS MEISSEN TABLE CLOCK IS MARKED BY MEISSEN SWORD MARK (UNDERGLAZED) OF 19TH CENTURY (POMMELS ON HILTS). FIRST QUALITY MODEL NUMBER F 36 FORMER'S NUMBER ...
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19th Century German Rococo Antique Meissen Porcelain Clocks

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Porcelain

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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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Meissen Art Deco Mantle Clock with Two Putti by Paul Scheurich, 1920-1924
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  • Prometheus Porcelain Mantle Clock by Meissen
  • Prometheus Porcelain Mantle Clock by Meissen
  • Prometheus Porcelain Mantle Clock by Meissen
  • Prometheus Porcelain Mantle Clock by Meissen
H 28 in. W 12.25 in. D 8.5 in.
Meissen Splendour Clock with Gardener Figures by E.A. Leuteritz, circa 1880
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Located in Vienna, AT
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Porcelain Mantel Clock, Meissen, Germany, 18th Century
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