Rudolstadt Porcelain

The antique porcelain market in the UK is dominated by a combination of Chinese porcelain and English porcelain  from Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Derby. Strangely the English buyer of porcelain seems to be less well informed about continental porcelain. Thus in the UK porcelain from France, Germany and Austria is not always fully appreciated. Take for example Rudolstadt porcelain.  Although easily recognized by buyers in Europe and North America, Rudolstadt remains pretty much unrecognised in the UK, with some of the beautiful Rudolstadt blushware pieces being mistaken by British buyers for Royal Worcester!

Figure1aThe history of Rudolstadt porcelain goes back to 1869 when the German company Lazarus Straus & Sons (L.S.&S) was established to sell imported  ceramics. The Younger member of this partnership Nathan Strauss must have had a very good entrepreneurial mind because in 1874 it seems he managed to form a business agreement with none other than R.H.Macy’s & Co. For those not familiar with Macy’s, R.H.Macy is a mid to upper range US chain of department stores initially established by Rowland Hussey Macy who opened 4 dry goods stores between 1843 and 1855. These initial businesses failed but he eventually moved to New York where he opened R.H.Macy & Co on 6th Avenue. The business grew and despite some difficulties along the way gave rise to the huge chain store brand that Macey’s represents today.

This business relationship between Nathan Strauss and Macey’s allowed Lazarus Straus & Sons retail space in every Macey’s store, thus opening up the US export market.  This actually led to the formation of a US company, New York and Rudolstadt Pottery Co. Inc. 1882. This US company traded in the porcelain manufactured in and shipped over from the German factory, which functioned independently from its US partner.

Figure3aTo meet the growing demand of its growing export market Lazarus Straus & Sons expanded, Figure2aopening decorating studios in France and Bohemia giving rise to L.S.& S. Limoges’ and the Austrian ‘L.S.&S. Carlsbad. Both these decorating studios used their own decorators mark. However, the mark used in Germany revolved around a crown over a shield shaped lozenge containing the letters RW for Rudolstadt Works. Variations of this mark were used between 1895 and 1924, with a more ornate version being used between 1900 and 1918.

The quality of the porcelain and the quality of the painting was superb and Lazarus Straus & Sons porcelain rivaled the very best porcelain manufactured across Europe and the US. Take for example the lovely pair of Rudolstadt vases shown in Figure 1.  They are of a classical form  with a long  ovoid body extending up towards a partially fluted  neck. The form of the vases is finished with lovely ornate handles extending from the necks to the vase bodies.  The form of these vases alone is not only pleasing to the eye, but incredibly tactile. However the story does not stop there.  These blush ivory vases have been richly decorated with stunning flowers, and leaves with fine tube lining of the leaf veins in gilt and tube lining of the petal extremities to give the painting a rich almost three dimensional quality (Figure 2). Each vase is truly a work of art and caries the more ornate Rudolstadt  (figure 3) mark indicating a date of manufacture between 1900 and 1918.

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The Fischer & Mieg Jug circa 1860

Fischer and Mieg was founded in 1802 by Johann Gottlob List and Friedrich Höcke under the company name of Friedrich Höcke. The company was then sold to Christopher Reichenbach and Christian Nonne in 1811 who gained financial support from Martin Fischer. The company grew and acquired a license to produce porcelain in 1822. The company was then taken over by Christian Fischer who married Emma Karolina von Mieg. Christian studied at the National Manufactory in Sèvres, France and is credited with the formalisation of Bohemian shapes and designs. The company, then known as Christian Fischer was sold to his son, Rudolf Karl Fischer, and son in-law, Ludwig von Mieg, giving rise to the company name Fischer and Mieg. The company was sold within the family several times until in 1908 it was sold to Wilhelm and Victor Maier. Wilhelm and Victor Maier maintained the brand but sold out to Oepiag and Epiag in 1920. However, they continued manufacturing porcelain under the name Fischer and Mieg until it was nationalized in 1946 to form part of Starorolský Porcelán.

Fischer & Mieg Jug Blog1Fischer and Mieg were renowned for the very high quality of their porcelain and also for their exquisite designs. Take for example the Fischer and Meig jug in Figure 1. This jug is quite unusual, not just because of the stunning decoration but also because of the lovely design (Figure 1). The jug is of a lovely tactile, well balanced ovoid spoutless form. It is 8 & ½ inches (21.6cm) high and is decorated in a very eye catching pattern consisting of hand painted gilded green and red flowers with gilded green foliage inhabited by green gilded birds. The over all effect is quite stunning.

The base of this particular jug is unmarked. However, we also have a number of plates in the same pattern carrying the Fischer and Mieg  impressed mark for 1860 -1870. The jug is in an excellent condition with no chips cracks or repairs. The enamels are in a lovely condition but there is some age related wear to the gilded decoration. This is to be expected in a piece that is around 140 to 150 years old. The jug is currently  for sale  via our Ruby Lane shop.

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