The period after the Napoleonic period in the Austro-Hungarian Empire saw the rise of the middle classes, culminating in a series of revolutions in 1848. The style of porcelain developed for the newly influential middle class became known as “Biedermeier” (originally a derogatory term.
The Biedermeier style was a simplified version of the neo-classical style which had been dominant in Europe for the previous half century. It was characterised by simple outlines, flat surfaces, restrained decoration and gilding often enclosed in a coloured border. As the century progressed, the decoration became finer as it came to be used for display more than for everyday use.
The finest Biedermeier porcelain was made in Vienna by the Royal Imperial Porcelain Factory (often called “Royal Vienna”) and in Berlin by the Royal Porcelain Factory, KPM. The Vienna factory was famous for its fine gilding and exquisite paining, particularly of flowers. The Viennese decorators tended to fill the entire surface, leaving no areas of white porcelain. The KPM factory produced more formal works than the Viennese, areas of plain porcelain were common and paintings of landscapes or townscapes were often used. Numerous smaller factories imitated their styles.