European 18th-Century Art

Danish Ceramics

The factory on Copenhagen’s Store Kongensgade (1724-1771) was the first in Scandinavia built to manufacture blue-and-white faience. Under the leadership of German-born Johann Ernst Pfau (1727-1749), the factory produced faience in the late-Baroque style, whose form and decoration were related to contemporary French and German products. Later the Rococo style made its breakthrough at the factory.

The Store Kongensgade Factory was soon unable to withstand competition from a number of new enterprises that were founded in Kastrup, near Copenhagen; in Schleswig, Eckernförde, and Stockelsdorf, in modern-day Germany; and in Herrebøe, in Norway. These factories were also able to produce polychrome faience.

In 1759, Louis Antoine Fournier was called to Denmark from France, and the soft-paste porcelain that he produced in the ensuing years was closely related to French products. Manufacture had to be discontinued as early as 1766, however, since it was impossible to sell the factory’s costly – and today extremely rare – porcelain.

Fournier’s workshop was taken over by an apothecary, Franz Heinrich Müller, who succeeded in making true hard-paste porcelain. The Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactory was founded in 1775, and from 1779 was owned by Christian VII. Products were aimed at different private economies. The most expensive pieces were painted over the glaze in polychrome and with gold. The least expensive was porcelain painted in blue, such as the underglaze blue fluted pattern. Porcelain from Meissen and Sèvres provided many models for the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactory’s earliest forms and decorations.