Circa 1885 - 8’’ (22cm), #20/3534 – Factory 1st, Flora: Red and Green Apple
A stunning example from this illustrious range of fine porcelain dinnerware. What makes this piece 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 8 (not initials), all of which combined dates it to a range of 1880 to 1892. After that date further backstamps were added in addition to the 3 waves, thus making this piece one of earliest examples of Flora Danica produced after 1870. The series number 3534 is also impressed on the unglazed base of the bowl.
Of all the wonderful pieces that make up ‘Flora Danica’, it is said that the production and carving of the soft, unfired porcelain to create this reticulated open weave basket makes it one of the most difficult and intricate to successfully produce. Small four petal blossoms and delicate leaves are applied to the exterior and handles are moulded to the body of the basket to resemble curving twigs/vines.
After two initial firings, the interior center of the basket is then decorated, in stages with, in this case, a vibrant and exquisitely hand painted and detailed representation of Pyrus Malus, a late maturing apple native to Scandinavia. The colours and details of the individual flowers are applied and finally the glimmering 24 carat gold detailing is lavishly applied throughout the piece and includes a generous number of large and small ‘pearl jewels’ around the top and base of the basket and to the interior. The hand cut saw tooth dentelle border is also decorated on its exterior in the fine lace-like design also seen on the ‘pierced’ Flora Danica plates. Also on the exterior of the top edge and at the base of the bowl, soft pink ground panels are interspaced with large gold 'pearls'.
The paired blossom on this particular piece are in hues of soft violet, pink and blue although there is one group in pale yellow at the center of one side. The slender leaves are still in vibrant shades of fresh green.
Diameter of bowl: 8 1/4'' (21cm); with handles: 9'' (23cm); Diameter of Base: 5 7/8'' (15cm); Height: 3 5/8'' (9.2 cm)
For such a delicate piece that is well over 100 years old and which the rim wear would suggest has definitely been used, the overall condition is extremely good. No loss of any of the gilding nor chips to the saw tooth border. There is a very tight, old hairline on the top edge of the basket which angles down less than an inch but which shows only slightly on the interior and has not gone through to the outside (please see photos 4, 5 and 9). The bowl still ‘rings’. This damage is actually quite hard to see but of course, could be repaired if desired. There is a pin head size flake of brown glaze that has come off one handle. Additionally, as is so often the case with fragile porcelain flowers, I can find one pink blossom which has lost an entire petal (photo 6) and another pink one with the loss of the only the tip of one of its petals (photo 7). Both of these damaged petals are located under a handle and are very small, so are not at all obvious. Remarkably, the delicate leaves remain in perfect shape. All of these small issues are shown in the photographs. So, although it can be seen that they do not detract from the overall beauty of this piece, they naturally must be mentioned and are reflected in the very reasonable price for such a treasure.
Having scoured the past and present market looking for other examples of these fruit bowls from this famous maker, it is clear that there are, even amongst those produced mid 20th C, very few of these remarkable bowls available and this is certainly the oldest one I have ever seen by a long shot. When the age of this piece is added to the equation together with the very good overall condition it becomes a remarkably rare and special antique example of some of the finest porcelain ever produced.
This lovely bowl is one of quite a collection of ‘Flora Danica’ which will be in the shop, which includes 4 small fruit/dessert plates of a similar age which complement the decorative design of this fruit bowl – so please have a look as a display of these together would be utterly stunning. 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 $95 and $180 depending on the destination. Combined shipping is possible in most cases.
The consignor requests payment ONLY by secure bank transfer in US$ - Paypal cannot be accepted. A Pro Forma invoice including shipping will be issued to include payment details and shipping costs once a purchase order is received. 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.
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, including 3,000 hand-colored copper plate prints depicting every wild plant known to exist in Denmark, including mosses, fungi and ferns as well as flowers and fruits.
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 individually 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.
Immediately after the 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 creation of the Flora Danica service was the life's work of Johann Christoph Bayer, one of the most gifted porcelain artists of the late 18th century.
The original full set, commissioned for the 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 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 backstamps 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 to celebrate this remarkable Flora Danica range of fine porcelain.
Extremely Rare Pre-1900 Flora Danica Round 8'' Fruit Basket by Royal Copenhagen - Pyrus Malus .L
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