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DateLecture
19 November 2019OF MEISSEN MEN
15 October 2019THE SILK ROAD: Silk, Slaves and Stupas
30 September 2019Compilation of Lectures 2014-20
17 September 2019TANTRUMS AND TIARAS: Behind the Scenes at the Royal Opera House
18 June 2019NOTHING TO DECLARE: Art Stopped at Customs
21 May 2019ZAHA HADID - Architectural Superstar
16 April 2019SAINT OR SINNER? The changing Image of Mary Magdalene
19 March 2019THE WALLACE AND FRICK COLLECTIONS AND THEIR CONNECTION WITH KNOLE
19 February 2019THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS REVISITED THROUGH ITS ILLUSTRATORS.
15 January 2019THE RIVALRY BETWEEN LEONARDO AND MICHELANGELO
18 December 2018IS CHRISTMAS IN GOOD TASTE?
20 November 2018MAD, BAD AND FASCINATING TO KNOW: The colourful ancestors of the Dukes of Bedford
16 October 2018CELEBRATING THE ROYAL ACADEMY : 250th Anniversary 1768-2018
18 September 2018THE AMADEUS MYTH: Mozart and his world - society and culture in 18th century Vienna
19 June 2018THE ART OF CUISINE AND THE CUISINE OF ART.
15 May 2018THE SILVER THREAD. Silver filigree and Traditional Arts in Kosovo
17 April 2018LET THERE BE LIGHT. The Art and Science of light in Painting.
20 March 2018CHILDREN AS ARTISTS
20 February 2018LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. Tortured Hero of Troubled Times
16 January 2018ROMANCING THE RAILS. British Railway Posters.
19 December 2017PICTURING THE NATIVITY. 15TH Century Artists Reinterpret the Nativity
21 November 2017HOCKNEY AT 80
17 October 2017THE BAUHAUS
19 September 2017WILLIAM COBBETT and JAMES GILLRAY . Personal and Political cartoons of the early 19th century.
20 June 2017THE INTERIORS OF JANE AUSTEN’S HEROINES
16 May 2017A LITTLE PARADISE. LAOS: Historic Buddhist Temples to Modern Silk Weaving.
18 April 2017FROM MAUVE TO MOMBAI: The History of Colour in Textiles from 1856 to the Present.
21 March 2017POP GOES THE ARTIST: From Warhol to Dylan
21 February 2017ARMOUR AND THE AFTERLIFE: The Funerary Monuments of Knights and Men-at-Arms.
17 January 2017WHEN BRITAIN CLICKED: Fab Photographs from the Swinging Sixties.
20 December 2016SINGE WE YULE
15 November 2016THE THAMES – Theatre of Pageantry and Pleasure.
18 October 2016DOUBLE DUTCH: Symbols and Emblems and "Double-Entendre" in Dutch Genre painting
20 September 2016THE ELGIN MARBLES.
21 June 2016“Punch and Judy”: A Subversive symbol from Commedia Del‘Arte to the Present Day
17 May 2016JMW Turner and the Day Parliament Burned Down
26 April 2016Wandering amongst the Nomadic Tribes of Iran and Afghanistan: Searching for the woven art and symbolism of the Nomad
15 March 2016The World of Carl Fabergé
16 February 2016Denys Lasdun and the National Theatre: Architectural Masterpiece or was Prince Charles right after all?
19 January 2016Velasquez: The Great Magician of Art

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OF MEISSEN MEN Lars Tharp Tuesday 19 November 2019

A packed session of The Arts Society Farnham listened to a lecture by Lars Tharp, one of the most experienced experts on the BBC Antiques Roadshow, about the introduction of porcelain china in Meissen, near Dresden in the early 18th century. His story starts with a painting, The Feast of the Gods by Bellini from the early 16th century which depicts three large Chinese porcelain platters fit to serve food for the gods.

 

The Chinese were the only producers for over 1,000 years before the recipe and extremely high firing temperatures were mastered by the Meissen factory early in the 18th century. Until then the Portuguese were the first to import this highly prized porcelain from China and Japan, followed by other European countries, including The Dutch East India Company.

 

Augustus the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, financed the development of porcelain at Albrechtsburg Castle, Meissen, firstly in 1708 with Böttger Ware, a hard, red stoneware which could be engraved through its glazed surface, and then in 1713 with the discovery of the recipe for white porcelain.

 

The signature underglaze "Meissen Blue" was introduced by Friedrich August Köttig. Minutely detailed landscapes and port scenes, animals, flowers, court and historical scenes, chinoiseries - fanciful Chinese-inspired decorations, and commedia dell’arte figurers were highly valued. Johann Joaquim Kändler was the genius behind life-size animal figures which were displayed in galleries in 1720s, while colour developed out of the existing manufacture of coloured enamelware.

 

By this time porcelain was also produced in other parts of Germany and Europe but Meissen porcelain excelled in its all round detail, ingenuity and intricacy. The Rococo period introduced mythology and Hogarth’s engravings as sources of inspiration but Meissen, with its famous trademark of two crossed swords, maintained its monopoly by keeping production to Albrechtsburg Castle. Over time the craze for Meissen porcelain declined as the factory continued to reissue traditional designs. In 1945 Allied bombing destroyed most of the factory but today the company survives mostly on limited production of 18th century designs.

 

Written by Jane Blandy

Lars Tharp is a Ceramics and Oriental Art Specialist. Born in Copenhagen, he read Archaeology at Cambridge, was at Sotheby's for sixteen years, and is today London's Foundling Museum's 'Hogarth Ambassador'. He holds an Honorary Doctorate in Art, is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and sits on the court of The Company of Weavers, London's oldest guild. He has served twice on the Art Fund's Annual Prize to Museums and Galleries. A regular broadcaster, Lars was part of the Antiques Roadshow team for more than 30 years.