Circa 1885 - Luncheon plate - 9’’ (23cm) - #20/3554 – Factory 1st. Perfect Condition. – Flora: Common Lilac
A stunning example from this illustrious range of fine porcelain. What makes this plate extremely rare is its exceptionally early mark of just the 3 blue waves, together with the identifying numbers for ‘series’/ size’ and the artists number (not initials), all of which combined dates it to a range of 1880 to 1892. After that date further back stamps were added in addition to the waves, thus making this piece one of earliest examples of Flora Danica produced after 1870. After several centuries of being produced only as bespoke orders for European royalty, this style of Flora Danica became part of Royal Copenhagen’s regular, although very limited, production in about 1864. Examples from the production period shown by the back stamps on this plate are close to impossible to find in perfect condition. ‘Factory 1st’ is indicated by the absence of slashes through the blue back stamp of three waves.
Floating elegantly within the painstakingly hand cut ‘saw-tooth’ outer edge and pierced ‘lacelike’ inner border is a most exquisitely detailed, hand painted representation of Syringa vulgaris. L (Common Lilac). As with all pieces of Flora Danica, this floral representation will have been chosen by the artist from the vast Danish botanical work ‘Flora Danica’, published c.1761, Each motif and its layout on the center of the plate will be subject to a degree of artistic interpretation by the painter to create a personal expression, making each piece unique. The flowers are painted with immense skill, in minute detail. Subtle shades of colour are gradually applied, between numerous firings, to achieve an accurate representation of the flora in its living form. The borders of the plate, as well as other ‘jewel’ accents throughout, are painstakingly decorated in lavish 24 carat gold which, after a final firing, will then be hand polished to create the lustrous gold accents.
Condition: Other a very small 2mm flake of glaze which has been lost from the inside bottom rim of this plate (please see next to last photo), this plate is in perfect condition. The price reflects this tiny bit of damage.
This lovely plate is one of 9 of the same size and series available in the shop. There will also shortly be several other pieces of Flora Danica in differing sizes/styles and a fruit basket in the shop. Layaway is available. Tracked 48 hour International shipping will be arranged with a major carrier and will include full insurance. The exact cost of shipping will be determined upon receipt of a purchase order but will be in the range of $62 and $120 for a single plate depending on the destination. Combined shipping is possible in most cases. Multiples of 3 plates or more may qualify for a discount. Please enquire.
The consignor requests payment ONLY by secure bank transfer in US$ - Paypal cannot be accepted. Please do not hesitate to be in contact for any further details or queries.
Since its creation over 200 years ago, the exquisite china from this Flora Danica range has remained one of the world’s most exclusive ranges of dinnerware. Collected by connoisseurs not only for its immense elegance and decorative flair but also for its investment value. Thank you for viewing and, if of interest, you will find a short history of how this wonderful porcelain dinnerware came into being and how it is produced.
Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica – ‘Dining with Kings’
Reputed to be one of the most original and inspired products of the European art industry from the golden age of porcelain in the last half of the 18th C, Flora Danica is one of the last luxury services still in production and remains one of the most lavish and costly examples in dinnerware. The name ‘Flora Danica’ came from a famous botanical work, published in Copenhagen 1761, consisting of 3,240 hand-colored copper plate prints/engravings of all the wild plants that grew in the Kingdom of Denmark. Every wild plant known to exist in Denmark, including mosses, fungi and ferns as well as flowers and fruits were included.
The first service of Flora Danica was originally commissioned in 1790 by King Christian VII of Denmark as a ‘politically correct’ gift – 'an olive branch' - for Empress Catherine the Great of Russia. The Empress adored fine porcelain but this gift had to come up to her exacting standards. The resulting design was developed, using the finest pearl white porcelain to be manufactured at the time, which was then rimmed in gold in a lace-like detail.
In short, the process of producing a fine piece of Flora Danica begins with the moulding and carving out of the soft porcelain, including the modelling and application of handles and three dimensional delicate flowers and buds if they are part of that piece’s design. The piece is then fired for the first time, followed by dipping in glaze in preparation for the second firing which turns the porous porcelain into hard, white, gleaming porcelain.
The long process of hand painting then begins. The artist starts work by sketching the flower motif on the centre of the plate. Then the colouring can begin from the light end of the colour scale. The porcelain is then fired for the third time – a process which is repeated after each application of colour until all the nuances and colour differences are correct. This whole process can result in up to a further eight firings, allowing the various shades of colour to be applied gradually which then fuse with the fired glaze. The 224 carat gold accents and designs are applied last and the piece if fired one more time. After this final firing the gold decorations look matte and dull. Their characteristic gold sheen appears only after vigorous hand polishing with glass brushes or sand. This required process was developed in the late 18th C and is not much changed to this day. The sparkling gold ‘pearl like' dots often seen on this dinnerware, in a variety of sizes depending on the piece, are a remnant from the late 1700’s.
Representing not only scientific, as well as artistic mastery, the designs are all taken from Oeder's 1771 publication Flora Danica (Flowers of Denmark), The artistic creation of the first Flora Danica service was the life's work of Johann Christoph Bayer, one of the most gifted porcelain artists of the late 18th century.
This original full set, commissioned for the Empress Catherine the Great in 1790, consisted of over 1800 pieces and took over 12 years to finally complete in 1802, resulting in the ‘birth’ of what is still considered to be one of the world's most prestigious and luxurious services in existence. Unfortunately, the Empress had died in 1796 before it was complete, so the service was then placed in the collection of the Danish Royal Family. Enough to serve 100 guests, Flora Danica was first used on January 29, 1803 for a banquet celebrating the birthday of King Christian VII. Since that time, this exquisite pattern has remained the centerpiece of Danish ceremonial occasions for state dinners, weddings and visits by foreign dignitaries. Today, pieces of Flora Danica are exhibited in several Danish Royal Collections, in Amalienborg Palace and in Queen Elizabeth II's private collection at Windsor Castle.
A second set was not produced until 1863 to commemorate the marriage of Princess Alexandra of Denmark to the Prince of Wales, after which point Royal Copenhagen began including limited quantities of this pattern as part of their normal production for the ‘retail’ market. Unique back stamps exist for export to the US from 1892 and to China from 1921.
Royal Copenhagen’s ‘Flora Danica’ is the only continually produced luxury china service still being produced since its inception in 1790. For further information see the excellent website created by Royal Copenhagen and their Flora Danica range.
Rare Pre-1900 Flora Danica 9'' Pierced Luncheon Plate - Syringa Vulgaris by Royal Copenhagen - 3554
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