Steal Your Mothers China

by Liza Laserow

…and use it!

Royal Copenhagen coffee cups and coffee pot.

The Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory, which later became Royal Copenhagen, was founded as the result of experiments carried out by the pharmacist, Frantz Heinrich Müller (1738-1820). He was an expert chemist who specialised in mineralogy, and since the early 1770s he had been experimenting with hard feldspar porcelain made from quartz, kaolin and feldspar. This was the secret Chinese recipe, which had been recreated by Meissen in about 1710.

For many years Meissen had successfully kept the secret to themselves, but by the time Müller began his experiments, the ingredients of porcelain were well known, and had even been printed in a number of books. Nonetheless, theoretical knowledge alone is far from enough to guarantee success in practice, and Müller spent all his time and money on experiments with his little porcelain kiln.

In 1774 Müller was finally ready to invite potential investors to subscribe for shares in a Danish porcelain factory, but very little interest was shown. This changed when the Queen Dowager Juliane Marie and her son the heir presumptive to the throne Frederik became partners in a limited company, which became a reality in 1775.

For almost a century the Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory was run by the Royal Family. In 1868 it passed into private hands, but still retained its name and the privilege of flying the royal swallow-tailed flag. Some years later, in 1882-84, the factory was amalgamated with the Aluminia faience factory and moved from the centre of Copenhagen to new premises in Frederiksberg.

Advertisements