The Berlin porcelain factory was opened in 1751 and after an unfortunate range of poor management decisions over a period of 12 years, was finally purchased in 1763 by Frederick the Great, the King of Prussia.
All European art, architecture, painting, furniture, dress and design, including silver and porcelain, evolved into one of the most smart and stylish periods of design ever seen. The style swept Europe with its influence seen from London to St Petersburg including the United States of America.
By 1830, Prussia was ruled by Friedrich Wilhelm III and styles had changed. This period saw the final days of the sharp, early 19th century, neo-classic style. Born in the mid 1760's, this very smart era of design was spread across a time line of about 65 years. At the closing period however, The Berlin Royal Porcelain Manufactory continued to produce these elegant neo-classic styles.
This style has never been surpassed, characterised by its understated simplicity, restraint and purity of form. We should also remember when we speak of changes in design and style in terms of time periods, i.e., the neo-classic period 1765-1830; we are not referring to an exact date, as these styles simply evolved into new forms of design.
Illustrated is a late neo-classic style Berlin lamp produced around 1830. The style defined by its simplicity of line, harmonious proportions and visual balance.
The lamp, in-the-white and sensitively painted with two rustic character subjects. Painted, in monochrome enamel, en grisaille, a painters’ technique by which an image is painted in shades of grey, giving the image a modelled appearance, creating the illusion of sculpture. One side with a young peasant girl on her way to market, a basket on her arm and a second balanced on her head, the reverse with a little boy, a wooden spinning top and string in hand.
The lamp rim, neck and square based plinth, gilded. The lamp with moulded and applied handles, in both bright and matte gilding. The elegant handles showing elements of Egyptian influenced design, the lamp having had some repair to the handles. The lamp standing on a custom designed and made, gold plated, square bronze base, stepped, with an inverted curve. Overall height (including shade) 25"/63cm
An antique lamp can be a lot more than just a source of interior lighting; it can also be a work of art with a major contribution to the classic/eclectic interior. Antique lamps with a “presence” can add to our visual appreciation of life. An antique lamp can be seen and appreciated in just the same way as a picture, which can add so much to enrich our lives.
The Berlin factory flourished throughout the 18th and 19th centuries until 1944 when allied bombing destroyed it, after which production was moved to the city of Selb. During the period 1955-1957, the whole production was then moved back to Berlin, where today, this factory produces some of the finest porcelain in Europe.
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