Johann Friedrich Böttger discovered the magic formula to making porcelain and in 1710 the Meissen factory was established. As a result of Böttger’s discovery, Augustus the Strong established the Meissen factory and hired a number of artists and craftsmen to produce decorative wares. It started producing a wide variety of different products, from dishes and bowls to vases.
The factory went on to produce some of the finest wares and sculptures ever seen in the West, and remains one of the most sought-after names in European ceramics.
The origin of Meissen figures
The idea for making small figures in porcelain came from the sugar ornaments seen on fashionable dining tables all over Europe at the beginning of the 18th century. The sugar would be pressed into a mould to form figures, temples, gates, carriages, gardens, and many other forms. These were very expensive and, of course, ephemeral, since they could be eaten
The arrival of porcelain made these figures more permanent, and more valuable. Many porcelain figures — from those in pastoral scenes to depictions of street traders — were in fact designed as table decorations, and not made to sit in cabinets as they do today.
The figures could be satirical, mythological or allegorical, and were designed to convey information about their owners — their level of scholarship, their military prowess, or even their sense of humour.
Bochmann, Max. Meissen 1874-1942
German artist and sculptor, early twentieth century modeller at Meissen.