Porcelain and Ceramics
The SPSG ceramic collection consists of around 3,500 East Asian porcelain objects and about 5,000 European porcelain works of art, and another 750 objects made of other ceramic materials. The SPSG also cares for the state of Berlin’s porcelain collection that includes 3,000 works made by Berlin manufactories. The 17th and 18th century Chinese and Japanese porcelain exhibited in the palaces of Charlottenburg, Oranienburg and Caputh stem from important collections of the Brandenburg electors and electresses. At one time, the overflowing porcelain chambers in these palaces were conceived as the prestigious culmination within the royal apartments. Their current arrangement provides a vivid impression of the style of interior decoration so much admired throughout Europe at that time.
By contrast, the masterpieces from Meissen and the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin (KPM) at Sanssouci Palace and the New Palace testify to Frederick II’s fondness for this fragile material. During the Silesian Wars and Seven Years’ War, the king not only used his military presence in Meissen to place large orders with the local manufactory, porcelain was also shipped on a grand scale from Meissen to Potsdam to fulfill tax obligations and embellish palace interiors and royal dining tables.
After Wörlitz Palace, the Marble Palace in Potsdam holds the second largest historical collection of Wedgwood porcelain outside England. It dates back to Frederick William II’s passion for the Neoclassical and coolly restrained creations of this English manufactory.
Produced mainly in Meissen and by the KPM, the most important royal table services owned by the Hohenzollern family from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries can be admired in the Silver Vault at Charlottenburg Palace. Not only do they reflect changing tastes, but also exemplify the evolution of dining culture at court between Rococo and the Modern Age. The Porcelain Collection of the State of Berlin includes 18th, 19th and 20th century porcelain masterpieces from the Berlin manufactories of Wegely, Gotzkowsky and, in particular, the KPM. It is displayed in the Belvedere in the gardens of Charlottenburg Palace and is considered the most significant collection of Berlin porcelain worldwide.
Dr. Michaela Völkel