While the formulation of hard-paste porcelain in Europe is credited to a Dresden alchemist named Johann Friedrich Böttger, who established a porcelain factory in nearby Meissen in 1710, the impetus for porcelain figurines can be directly attributed to Augustus II, the King of Saxony and Poland. Augustus the Strong, as he was also known, envisioned a palace filled with porcelain objects, including a menagerie of hundreds of life-size animals. Throughout the 1720s, none of the Meissen modelers were able to animate porcelain to his highness’s satisfaction, so, in 1728, Augustus brought in a woodcarver named Johann Joachim Kändler, whose lack of experience with porcelain was more than offset by his keen eye and facile hand.

After the king’s death in 1733, Kändler sculpted the first of many harlequins and other Italian commedia dell'arte and theatrical characters, as well as caricatures of members of his successor, Augustus III’s court, from his jester (Joseph Frölich) to his numerous mistresses to litters of pug dogs, a reference to the King’s position as the Grand Master of the Order of the Pug Dogs. In fact, Meissen figurines in the 18th century included a great deal of animals, including monkeys in tricorn hats playing a variety of instruments and pudgy putti feeding bunches of grapes to lounging leopards.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

V&A Porcelain Figures

V&A Porcelain Figures

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s online collection of Meissen porcelain figures includes more than 150 pieces, in… [read review or visit site]

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

This gallery showcases highlights from the 5,000 items in the museum's ceramics collection dating from 1500-1900. I… [read review or visit site]

Ceramics at The V&A

Ceramics at The V&A

A great reference on ceramics from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Learn about different ceramics techniques and st… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Meissen - FigurinesMeissen Porcelain Figural Group Soldier & Woman In Victorian Dress 19th CenturyMeissen - FigurinesMeissen - FigurinesMeissen - FigurinesMeissen - FigurinesMeissen - FigurinesAntique Meissen Porcelain - Small Figurine - Lady Flower Seller - As FoundStunning 19thc Meissen, Germany Large Porcelain Female Figurine At Well C1880sAntique 19th Century Meissen Porcelain Figurine Rare - Meissen Figurine MythologicalFigural Vases - MeissenAntique 19th Century Meissen Porcelain Figurine Antique German Sitzendorf Porcelain Figurine Cherub On Goat Meissen TypeGerman Dresden Porcelain Lady Figurine Dancer Volksted Meissen LikeFine Antique German Meissen Porcelain Porzellan Figural Group Hand-painted 1850 19th Century Meissen Porcelain Lady With Basket Flowers Figurine For RestorationFine Antique Dufour Meissen German Porcelain Figural Dancing Group 7 1/4" TallFine Antique German Meissen Porcelain Porzellan Figural Group Hand-painted 1850 Late 19c German Meissen Animal Figure Cockerel Rooster On Stand C1880Large Heavy 19th Century Meissen German Porcelain Three Graces Figure PedestalAntique Meissen Figural Group Of Nude Children Cherubs With Flowers #107Antique Lacy Dresden Meissen H/p Porcelain Victorian Couple Figurine DancingAntique Meissen Porcelain - Small Figurine - Boy In Striped Shirt - As FoundAdorable Antique Meissen Porcelain Figure Of Monkey Band ClarinettistGreat Old Antique Meissen Porcelain 7.5" Figural Donkey StatueLace Figure , Jib , Dresden ,meissen , Dancing Lady, Ballernia ,7 12" ,germanyLot Of 4 Meissen Monkey Band Porcelain Art Beautiful Statue Figurine Ceramic