For nearly three centuries many of the most exquisite examples of the world's finest porcelains are Meissen teapots.
Johann Bottger: First European to Duplicate Chinese Porcelain Formula
For many years Europeans had been trying to duplicate the fine hard-paste porcelain formula used in China and Japan for nearly one thousand years. This was achieved in 1708 by Johann Frederick Bottger, an alchemist working for the Meissen manufactory. In 1710 Bottger was appointed director in charge of experimentation and development.
Red Stoneware: The First Teapots by Meissen
Bottger's first successful invention was a red stoneware, also known as Bottger Stoneware. Produced by the Meissen manufactory from 1708-1728, the stoneware was so hard it could be polished, faceted or engraved.
To view a beautiful example of a Meissen red stoneware teapot, circa 1715-1720, displayed at The J. P. Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California visit Getty Edu. This rare deep red teapot has silver-gilt mounts and chain.
The Elegance of Meissen White Porcelain Teapots
With the addition and proper blending of kaolin and petuntse, Bottger soon perfected the correct formula needed to produce the beautiful hard-paste white porcelain of China. By 1713, Meissen was producing beautiful, delicate and elegant glazed white porcelain pieces. Among the Meissen pieces displayed as part of The Arnold Collection of Meissen Porcelain at the Frick Collection Museum in New York City, was a fabulous all white, glazed teapot with cover, circa 1713-1715. To view the teapot, along with other pieces of Meissen belonging to the Arnold Collection visit Roberta on the Arts. Scroll down to the third picture to see this marvelous example of early Meissen. There are also two additional early teapots, 1725-1731, displayed on the page. To see them scroll down to pictures twelve and thirteen.
Additional Examples of Meissen Teapots
Museums throughout the world house many of the following teapots.
Teapots of the 1700s
- Displayed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is a unique teapot by Meissen, circa 1725. This unusual teapot does not have a top opening. Instead the teapot's base has a hole used for filling. Once filled, a cork plugs the hole. The detailed scene on this teapot of exotically dressed people with a palm tree behind them on one side and people preparing tea wearing similar clothing on the reverse side is known as a chinoiserie. This term refers to highly detailed and often fanciful scenes of Oriental life as imagined by the Europeans.
- An exquisite chinoiserie designed globular teapot, circa 1723, sold at Christie's Auction of London on 11/18/08 for $37,675.
- Beautiful painted scenic panels and detailed cartouches make this Meissen globular teapot, circa 1740-1770, truly magnificent.
- Magnificent pedestal teapot by Meissen, circa 1750.
Teapots of the1800s
- This bulbous teapot with floral design is circa 1840-1880.
- An Imari style teapot is circa 1880.
An example of the well known classic Meissen mark, the blue crossed swords, is visible on this Bird and Tree pattern Meissen teapot, circa 1730-1745.
The following websites provide additional information on Meissen marks, including imitations and copies.
- Antique Marks
- A Guide to the Collection of Early Meissen Porcelain sold at AbeBooks.com
- Amazon offers a price guide for Meissen antiques titled Meissen Porcelain Identification And Value Guide
Fine Examples of European Porcelain
Meissen teapots are spectacular examples of European porcelain to enjoy whether you are a collector or simply appreciate the fine detail and craftsmanship of fine antique porcelain.