What is rarity and how to recognise? In this post The Meissen Man explains what makes an item rare be it manufactured in the 19th, 19th or 20th century. Rarity, is a description given to understanding a particular item becomes much sought after. It may be that an item has been reproduced in large volume but certain attributes that are significant to the description make it much sought after depending on certain criteria.
As an example many figural pieces were often painted in multi-colours while some are found in Blue and White and occasionally in Pink and White. Those painted in pink and white may be considered a rarity in comparasion to the formers. However there are even more exceptions when an item is painted in a colour that is documented as not being known or rarely seen. This type of item would always be considered very rare.
During the eighteenth century at Meissen the very earliest of forms of figural pieces were from the Bottger era. However coloured pieces were not generally produced before kaendler began modelling the many thousands of models the porcelain department at Meissen would be manufacturing. Collectors and dealers are always looking for the rarest of pieces that turn up in the International marketplace. Most pieces are normally dateable and find a reputation of being the earliest known form of a particular model. As such they are the exception amongst the general repetative productions that were being mastered throughout the period Kaendler was manager of the modelling department. These items are not only collectable but extremely valuable. Often it will take an experienced eye to distinguish a piece that could have been made a year or even earlier than was first and these are the type of items that can fetch world record prices. Often it may be the case if having the piece scientifically tested to establish exact age colours were applied.
Robbig of Munich is recognised as having possibly the largest stock of the rarest that Meissen Produced. In these videos , The Meissen Man is seen looking through this amazing collection at Masterpiece in London.
Another of the most recognised and possibly oldest established antique dealers formerly the Antiques Porcelain Company is:
Michelle Beney at Masterpiece Here the Meissen Man interviews one of her staff discussing some of the exceptional pieces on display.
Two other specialists that are present at Masterpiece also carry fine 18th century Meissn. However, wether it be the specialists with their huge stocks or the other two specialists each in their own individual ways contribute to selecting the best in their areas of specialisms. Warners of Westerham is such a dealer carrying a wide range of period 18th century English German including Meissen and French ceramics.
London Antique Dealer Errol eManners is perhaps one of the exceptions in so much as he is the only remaining retailer of fine and rare ceramics. While he holds a good stock of 18th century Meissen, his stock will also include French Porcelain particularly Sevres, Italian and any number of other factories that may include some of the lessor known. Much of Errolls stock is chosen with care and includes pieces that have a known provenance. Particularly it is the ceramics that were produced in England from as early as the middle ages. Errols website is a worthy visit to see some of the stock he has sold in the past and includes what he has for sale at present. Dont be surprised to find an interesting piece of ceramic material that was made during the twentieth century.
While it may appear that the earlier a piece is the most likely it to have the greatest rarity this doesnt mean that it has to be made during the eighteeenth century. For many collectors of the eighteen century their focus is of all items made before the seven years war that began after 1757. Normally their reason for this is this is the cut off date for the majority of pieces Meissen Produced and was at an era that highlighted the greatest production of porcelain in Meissens history under the managership of the Master Modeller Johann Kaendler who had produced in excess of two thousand models.
During the 19th century many of these models because very collectable to the elite some of whom preferred the brighter enamels of the 19th century when compared to the 18th. It wasnt the case that these brighter glazes highlighted an items rarity over that of its 18th century counterpart or original it was just that an entirely different type of collector emerged who felt paying extravegant sums of money for seemingly inferior in quality made no sense since these were objects they wanted to show off to their influential visitors.
However, whether the 19th century is concerned only during a very short period of production is found the very finest modelling of any pieces made at Meissen. The period I am discussing now is a decade from 1880-1890.
London is not only a capital city but also where the finest range of 18th and 19th century Meissen can be found in the exceptional retails shops offering a selection.
Of these David Brower of Kensington Church Street just up the road from Errol and Henrietta Manners holds the largest and most important stock of 19th century Meissen of the highest quality that can be found anywhere.
Here you will find diverse areas of Meissen porcelain manufacture that can make any piece have a rarity status. One is the quality, another is the size, thirdly the condition. Meissen Schneeballen is recognised as being amongst the rarest especially where size is concerned and this exceptional Vase can be seen at David Brower Antiques Kensington Church St London.
Other specialist Meissen dealers are Gallery 85 in Portobello Road where you can see the stock of more than one European Porcelain specialist who hold fine stocks of Meissen Porcelain, Alexandra Alfrandry used to be a neighbour of The Meissen Man in Londons famous Camden Passage, sadly now devoid of any Meissen Porcelain although amongst the top Japanese and Chinese works of art shops Kevin Page Oriental Art can be found there.
It is important to remember that when defining rarity in 18th century Meissen Porcelain, many of the designs derived from the many early patterns from China and Japan of the 17th century. At Kevin page you can see some of these examples that Augustus the Strong was proud to own and now stand in the Museum of the Japanese Palace in Dresden.
Other specialist of 19th and 20th century Meisen is K and M antiques at Grays Antique Centre next to Bond Street Station and down in the basement of the same location is Serhat Ahmet.