Founded by Reinhold Schlegelmilch in what is now Suhl, Germany, R.S. Prussia produced ornate and floral porcelain objects for export beginning in the late 1800s. While many different marks were used on R. S. Prussia pieces through World War I, two of the most recognized from this period were the green wreath mark with "R.S. Prussia" in red letters and the Steeple mark, so-called because of its steeple outline.
Between the wars, the company manufactured pieces in a factory in Tillowitz, Germany, so the marks from this era reflected that change. After World War II, porcelain bearing the word "Poland" signified yet another change in venue for the R.S. Prussia factory.
R. S. Prussia objects included teapots and coffee pots, cups and saucers, sugar bowls, plates, creamers, and chocolate sets. Some pieces featured imitation opals, gold embellishm...
Influenced by Art Nouveau, many of Schlegelmilch’s vases and pitchers had arms and handles that recalled the borders on posters by Alphonse Mucha, or Hector Guimard’s wrought-iron entrances to the Paris Metro.
The imagery on R.S. Prussia pieces tended to focus on classical and scenic themes. Due to their rarity, vases and other objects with animals or portraits on them are generally more sought after than those featuring floral décor. Less typical were R.S. Prussia objects that had been given the flow-blue treatment.
In terms of the shapes of R.S. Prussia, many of the basic pieces were simple and uncontroversial. Plates featured round or scalloped edges, while the gold-trimmed cups and saucers stayed close to traditional tea-service designs of the day. But R.S. Prussia excelled when it went vertical. Its fluted tankards with sculptural handles are quite prized—the best examples have cottage scenes on pink, green, and orange "glow" backgrounds. The tall chocolate pots, with their slender necks and bulbous bottoms, are also collectible.
But the most sought-after examples of antique R.S. Prussia are the portrait vases. Some featured oblong cobalt bodies with portraits set within a heraldic frame of gold. The handles of these pieces frequently extended to their bases. Other portrait vases resembled urns, with swan-head handles and scenes that wrapped around the entire piece in a wide, bold band.
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I’m the curator of the ceramics bit of the Bowes Museum. It’s a big museum with 30 galleries of which three or four are devoted to… [more]