Symposium Porcelain Fever

14 june 2024
Symposium Porcelain Fever

Symposium Porcelain Fever

14 june in The Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics

On Friday 14 June, the national Ceramics Museum Princessehof is organising a symposium that will address the themes surrounding the exhibition Porcelain Fever.

The symposium will cover the origin story of European porcelain and the early porcelain productions in Meissen and Vincennes/Sèvres. The Chinese Emperor Qianlong, so admired in Europe, will also be discussed. How did he view European porcelain production? And why, after the French Revolution, did a veritable Sèvres mania arise in England (which again bypassed the Netherlands)? Finally, we also look at the new research opportunities thanks to the recently concluded digitisation project of the Asian ceramics collection of Augustus the Strong in Dresden

Register via the museum's ticket page, select 14 June.


Theatherzaal in Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands


Regular: €55
Students: €25


Walk-in with coffee and tea

10.30 - 10.45
Welcome speech Kris Callens, director and board member Fries Museum and Ceramics Museum Princessehof.

10.45 - 12.15
Denise Campbell, Curator of Asian ceramics, National Ceramics Museum Princessehof.
Laura Smeets, Curator of European ceramics, National Ceramics Museum Princessehof.
Introduction Porcelain Fever.

Sebastian Bank, Curator European Porcelain at the Porzellansammlung (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden).
Fantastic Hausmaler and where to find them - 18th century Meissen porcelain decorated outside the factory
As early as the late 17th century, so-called Hausmaler began to decorate unpainted glass and faience. With the founding of the first European porcelain manufactory in Meissen, the decorations by the Dresden goldsmith Georg Funcke were among the earliest coloured ones on porcelain. Further centres were established in Augsburg, Breslau and Bohemia. However, with the arrival of the porcelain painter Johann Gregorius Höroldt in Meissen in 1721, they were quickly labelled as bunglers and corner painters, whose colourful activities had to be stopped by banning the sale of white porcelain. Today, it is precisely these decorations that stand out as particularly imaginative, whereby certain characteristic handwritings of the artists can be recognised. In his lecture, Sebastian Bank talks about the most important Hausmaler and their pieces in the Dresden Porcelain Collection and elsewhere.

Viviane Mesqui, curator of 18th century porcelain at Musee Nationaux Sèvres.
Figurative sculpture at the Vincennes-Sèvres factory in the 18th century : production and uses
Since its beginnings, the Vincennes-Sèvres factory has produced three-dimensional sculptures, which models were supplied by major artists such as François Boucher or Etienne Maurice Falconet. These groups, with their varied themes, reflect the stylistic developments of the 18th century, as well as the technical researches carried out at the manufactory. They were also used for a variety of purposes, from table decoration to luxury interiors.

12.15 - 13.15

13.15 - 14.15
Students speaking (speakers to be announced).

Dr Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth, art historian and curator and Director of Global Premodern Art and Lecturer in French and British History of Art, c.1650-1900 at the University of Edinburgh.
‘Sèvres-Mania’: Is Sèvres ‘El Dorado’?
Towards the end of the nineteenth century in England, the mania for the collecting of ‘old’ French Sèvres porcelain appeared to have reached its zenith. From record-breaking auction prices, to ‘duels between collectors’, and even highly publicised court cases. In 1874, the London Daily Telegraph observed wisely that ‘prices rule high in the old china market. Sèvres is El Dorado’. This talk establishes the distinctly competitive market for ‘old’ Sèvres in the frenzied space of the auction house during this time. It will then consider a lawsuit over the authenticity of two Sèvres vases which hit the press in February 1882. This three-day cause-célèbre court case between the tradesman and collector William Goode, and the Wertheimer family of art dealers involved some of the most notable collectors, dealers, artists, and scholars in London, all of whom were called upon to examine the objects in question. In the end, they failed to reach a satisfactory agreement, calling into question the reliability of ceramics connoisseurship and damaging the supremacy of the highly profitable market for ‘old’ Sèvres.

Dr Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth
Dr Caroline McCaffrey-Howarth
Ship Vase or Vaisseau à mât
Ship Vase or Vaisseau à mât

14.15 - 14.45
Break with coffee and tea

14.45 - 16.00

Dr. Mei mei Rado, Assistant Professor Decorative Arts, Design History and Material Culture at Bard Graduate Center.
Porcelain and the Western Fever at the Eighteenth-Century Qing Court
During the eighteenth century, vibrant globe trade and cultural exchanges gave rise to mutual fascinations between European and China. At the same time when Chinese objects and chinoserie style enjoyed great popularity at the European courts, the emperors of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) amassed a large number of European objects, and the architectural projects and artworks assimilating European styles, motifs, or techniques flourished at the Qing court. This eclectic style and aesthetic were referred to as xiyang (“Western Ocean”) in Qing court documents, and it became a trademark of Qing imperial arts. This talk focuses on the role of porcelain in this “Western fever” at the Qing court. First, I will survey the Meissen and Sèvres wares in the Qing imperial collections and their contexts of collecting. Second, I will discuss the new category of porcelain made by the Qing imperial workshops in Jingdezhen and Beijing, which employed the European-inspired technique of painted enamel and featured ornamental vocabularies, floral motifs, and figural designs drawn from Western sources. These works were not simply artifacts that reflected a taste for the exotic. They embody the complexity of the early modern global network, in which objects, knowledge, designs, and technology flowed in multiple directions.

Cora Würmell, Curator of Chinese and Japanese ceramics at the Porzellansammlung (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden).
The Royal Dresden Porcelain Collection – Exploring the East Asian holdings and its Provenance in the Digital Realm
The Royal Dresden Porcelain Collection digital platform presents the results of nearly ten years of work on the East Asian ceramic collection of Augustus the Strong (1670-1733) and his son Augustus III (1696–1763). For the very first time the Porzellansammlung’s entire historical holdings are freely accessible. The entire collection is showcased with over 36.000 new images in conjunction with its 18th century provenance, the Historical Palace Inventories.
This lecture will give insights into the international project and explores the research possibilities of this pioneering digital platform which provides a completely new way to look at and work with the historical ceramic collection.
Access The Royal Dresden Porcelain Collection.

Questions and discussion.

From 16.00
Drinks at Princessehof and viewing of Porcelain Fever.

The language of communication during the symposium will be entirely or predominantly English.

© Keramiek Museum Princessehof - all rights reserved disclaimer