Notebook, 1993-


POTTERY AND PORCELAIN - Glossary - A List of Museums and Galleries - Ceramics - [A materials resource site with links]

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Pottery & Porcelain - Swiss

Switzerland has not produced much porcelain, and since it is bordered by Germany and France it is not surprising that Zürich porcelain is of the German type and Nyon porcelain of the French type.

At Schooren near Zürich, a company, including the poet Salomon Gessner, started to produce soft paste in 1763, and two years later hard paste, with kaolin brought from Lorraine. Gessner occasionally supplied his own designs for the decoration of plates, which bring to mind the vignettes in his Idyllen, published in Switzerland about this time. Whether he actually painted some himself is uncertain. The Factory's best period lasted up to 1790; its output included original figures of great charm, some influenced by artists from Lorraine, others closer to Ludwigsburg, from whence the modeller J. V. Sonnenschein had come.

From 1766 to 1790 the factory was under the technical direction of Adam Spengler, whose son John was a modeller at the Derby factory [1790-5].

Hard-paste porcelain was also made at Nyon, near Geneva, from about 1780, by Ferdinand Müller of Frankenthal and Jacques Dortu, w ho had been at Berlin and Marieberg. Dortu, whose technical knowledge provided a good-quality white paste, eventually became sole director, 1809-13. In the latter period English-style earthenware was made.

A variety of pieces were competently painted in the current Paris mode, with scattered sprigs of flowers, butterflies, beribboned trophies, garlands, and diapers. The coloured grounds of Sèvres and commoner Meissen patterns were also imitated. Figures are very rare.

The mark of a fish in underglaze blue has been used by Hamann of Dresden [1866], and also as a rebus in the perch [fish] of the Paris decorator Perche [about 1825] [p. 479]

[L. G. G. Ramsey, F.S.A., ed. The Complete Color Encyclopedia of Antiques. Preface by Bevis Hillier, Editor of The Connoisseur. Compiled by The Connoisseur, London. New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc. 1962. Revised and Expanded Edition.]



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