Royal Copenhagen shell-shaped serving dish, ‘Saxon Flowers’, c. 1785
Rare Royal Copenhagen shell-shape dish, well painted in the ‘Saxon Flowers’ pattern with groups of colourful flowers in the Meissen style, the edge with a thick gold rim, the reverse superbly rusticated to resemble a shell.
Underglaze hand-painted blue 3-wave mark,
incised marks to footrim,
21x19cm, 5cm high
Royal Copenhagen started production in 1779 after several years of development. The concern was funded by the court, in particular the Dowager Queen Juliane Marie. European Courts at this time were in the habit of using Meissen porcelain, and Meissen had flourished with the international demand for their wares, developing into a huge industry. Royal Copenhagen, however, lacked this massive demand, and in these early years, catered for the local aristocracy. It is therefore rather rare to find a piece from these the initial years. It is also hardly surprising that the ‘Saxon Flowers’ pattern was borrowed from the popular Meissen ‘Deutschblumen’ flowers – as were the shapes. And yet, Royal Copenhagen created a true hard-paste porcelain of their own that has its own distinct feel, a ‘softer’ feel than the often glassy Meissen hard-paste.
This piece bears the earlier version of the hand-painted ‘3-wave’ mark, which represents the three Danish waterways, Oresund, Storebelt and Lillebelt.
It also has very small incised marks on the footrim; these are probably the workman who formed the piece, placed so ‘management’ could monitor production quality. These are not used by 1800, allowing us to date this piece to the earliest production period.
Once the 1790’s finish, there’s a change at Royal Copenhagen: the lavish ‘Flora Danica’ service intended for Catherine the Great of Russia as a diplomatic gift (she died before it was finished) made the firm’s wares very desirable, and they still continue to make this superb pattern, depicting the flora of Denmark, to this day – at a price!