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My Charming Weimar Porzellan GmbH Desert Plates

I found these charming hand-painted desert plates made in 1918 at an antique store in Lochem. At first glance I fell quite in love with them, but on second thought I uncovered them to be a bit too flashy for my tastes, considering that I am more a buyer of Wedgwood Prestige and Hand Painted Rosenthal dinnerware. Both those companies have a rather subtle approach to their design philosophy, and both of the patterns I buy are individually made by hand. 

When it comes to transfer ware, I must admit that I am not a huge fan of it - I find them lacking in soul simply because being the stubborn traditionalist that I am, the very fact that someone has shaped by hand the piece that I use, and that the piece itself has gone through the process of painstaking painting by expert artisans who have mastered their craft over years is something I cannot bring myself to find comfort in with transfer ware. A bit anxious not to lose them, and yet caught in a conundrum, I wrote to a friend Maureen, who owns an antique store in America enquiring whether these plates were a bit too loud for my liking. She responded that I would like them considering that they had an element of life to them. So I went ahead and bought these from the kind lady Andréa, who had some more beautiful vintage at her store as well as antique pieces too.

To give you a brief on Weimar Porzellan G.m.b.H.  

For over 200 years, the brand Weimarer Porzellanmanufaktur Betriebs-GmbH has existed as a guarantee for the highest quality and craftsmanship, and is the symbol of magnificent porcelain refinement. It is the product of the C. & E. Carstens Porcelain Manufactory (Blankenhain, Thuringia, Germany [E. Germany]. The factory dates back to the year 1790 when Yekaterina Alexeyevna, or better known as Catherine the Great, had commissioned Christian Andreas Wilhelm Speck (1790 until 1830) to create porcelain for her. The company's legacy started with Speck, and has continued to evolve into what it is today.

The company has gone by many different names since the beginning, and up until Porzellanfabrik Fasold & Eichel (1848 until 1898), the company made tableware, coffee sets, tea sets and other decorative porcelain. Next to take over the factory were Duxer Porzellanmanufaktur A.G. (1898 until 1918) and then the Carstens brothers, who renamed the company Blankenhainer Porzellanfabrik C.&E. Carstens (1918 until 1948). They produced porcelain until 1948. The company became nationalised after WWII, when it was renamed again to V.E.B. Weimar Porzellan (1948 until 1990) and is known as Weimar Porzellan G.m.b.H. (1990 until today).

The porcelain had gained noteworthy recognition for their products during the earlier Art Nouveau period, largely due to artisan Alois Hampel. At the world exhibition in St. Louis in 1904, the factory was awarded the Grand Prix. A silver medal was won at the exhibition in Milan, Italy, in 1906, and a gold medal at the exhibition in Liberec (Czech Republic).

The stamp that appears on Weimar porcelain is a stripped shield with a crown over it and two tree branches on either side. The word “Weimar” appears diagonally across the shield. In some versions the words “Weimar Porzellan” and “Made in Germany” also appear. The stamp has been through many variations and colours including green, blue, gold and black.

The company mostly concentrates on the Katharina Design, as it is considered as a high point of European porcelain design. The success of its shape is closely connected with its exclusive and valuable patterns. Weimar Porzellan G.m.b.H. is known for its lavish use of gold and cobalt, and ornate surface decoration as well. 

This award-winning porcelain has a long history of superior craftsmanship and collecting it is an expensive affair.

Image copyright: Farahdeen Khan