Royal Copenhagen cup & plate (late 18th century)
Royal Copenhagen cup & plate (late 18th century)

The first ceramic factory in Copenhagen was established in 1722 to make blue and white pottery in the Delft style. A second factory was set up in 1755 to produce soft paste porcelain. In 1760, Louis Fournier introduced techniques he had learned at Sevres and the reputation of the Danish factory began to spread. In 1775, a new factory was established by Franz Heinrich Mueller and the Dowager Queen of Denmark to make hard paste porcelain. Mueller could not make the factory pay and gave his share to the King. The factory was renamed the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Factory.

As well as fine ornamental pieces and porcelain tableware for the nobility, Royal Copenhagen produced a wide range of earthenware pieces, with similar decoration to the porcelain, originally intended primarily for the servants. Ninety percent of Royal Copenhagen’s output has been in just two patterns. One, Mussel, or the Blue-Fluted pattern, is based on a Chinese motif; the other, Blue Flower, features a variety of naturalistic flowers arranged in bouquets. The Blue Fluted pattern is very labour-intensive requiring over 1,000 brush strokes on a single plate.

Royal Copenhagen "Painter"
Royal Copenhagen “Painter”

The factory declined through most of the nineteenth century but was revived in the 1880s with the introduction of the Flora Danica pattern which featured botanically accurate coloured paintings of Danish flowers.

In 1884, the Royal Copenhagen factory was merged with the Alumina Faience company. The amalgamated company produced a range of ornamental wares as well as the traditional products. The most common items were vases made in simple, elegant shapes and decorated with underglaze painting in muted pastel colours. Figures, mostly animals, were also produced in porcelain, stoneware and earthenware. The stoneware pieces date mostly from the 1920s. The most popular designs have been in continuous production since they were introduced.

Royal Copenhagen ceramics available now
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