Danish porcelain is loved across the world

Our antiques expert, Allan Blackburn, takes a look at the pottery prowess from Denmark...

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 28th June 2018, 10:16 am
Updated Friday, 29th June 2018, 4:18 pm
This vase is typical Copenhagen on sale at GB Antiques Centre for 64 pounds
This vase is typical Copenhagen on sale at GB Antiques Centre for 64 pounds

Some lucky readers may be about to head off on their summer holiday, often bringing back a piece of pottery as a souvenir.

A visit to Denmark may spur an interest in collecting Royal Copenhagen. A beautiful handcrafted porcelain, its characteristic creams and pastel blues are loved the world over.

The Royal Copenhagen Porcelain factory was founded in 1775 by the chemist, Frantz Heinrich Müller, who following years of experimentation and trials finally mastered the production of coveted hard porcelain. The three wavy lines used as their trademark symbolises Denmark’s three straits: Øresund, Store Bælt and Lille Bælt.

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The factory was beset by difficulties during its first few years, but the problems of “poor raw materials, lack of experience, unsuccessful firings and disappointing experiments” were eventually overcome, and in 1779 the absolute monarch, King Christian VII, assumed financial responsibility, thus guaranteeing the future of the porcelain factory.

As with many other early porcelain factories, the greater proportion of Royal Copenhagen porcelain was painted cobalt blue before glazing.

At the time it was the only colour to withstand the high temperatures required to fuse the porcelain mass and the glaze to make Chinese style porcelain.

Royal Copenhagen continues to produce china and dinnerware in the traditional “blue and white style,” which has become the factory’s mark of distinction.

Royal Copenhagen had a spell of commissioning items the Far East but they couldn’t reach the standard required and manufacture soon came back to Denmark.

The wares wouldn’t sell because the quality was nowhere near the standard it had been.

One of Royal Copenhagen's most famous patterns is the 'Flora Danica'. This dinner service is renowned as the most exquisite and most expensive in the world. It was originally commissioned in 1790 by the Danish king for Catherine the Great, of Russia.

It took 12 years to complete and when it was eventually delivered to the Royal family, it had 1,802 pieces.

Royal Copenhagen’s figures, animals and commemorative plates are a joy to collect because their famous patterns are hand painted to this day, so no two pieces are exactly the same.