BEAUTY ON A PLATE
The Königliche Porzellan-manufaktur – better and more easily known as KPM in collecting circles – was founded in Berlin in 1763 by Frederick the Great.
He is best known for nearly bankrupting Germany because he couldn’t stop buying fine porcelain from China and locking up alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger until he turned base metal into gold.
Fortunately for both, Böttger discovered China’s secret and, although disputed by some, he is credited as being the first European to begin making hard pasteporcelain. KPM continues today but collectors delight in the factory’s porcelain plaques like this, titled ‘Two Beauties’ after a painting by Edouard Bisson (1856-1935).
The skill required to reproduce colours so successfully, each one requiring a separate firing, is astonishing. The plaque sold for £1,600 at Gerrards’ auction rooms in Lytham St Annes.