Plan your visit to CLAY, offering a seasonal menu of fresh local fare in one of the city's most beautiful spaces. Try our newly-launched spring menu today!
See an extraordinary spectrum of contemporary works, including vessels, figurative sculpture, and abstract forms in The Diana Reitberger Collection, on display in our Modern and Contemporary Ceramics Gallery.
Our new kids clay camps now include earlier start times, art-filled field trips, and fresh new themes. Register now for a summer of creative hands-on fun!
The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally. It houses approximately 4,000 objects, including European porcelain, ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary ceramics. Search the collection online!
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Hard-paste porcelain was first produced commercially in Europe at Meissen, where a manufactory was established in 1710 by Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. Despite ardent attempts to prevent the arcanum (the secrets of porcelain production) from spreading, it proved impossible. Thanks to the poaching of expertise and personnel, a small private enterprise was established in 1718 in Vienna by Du Paquier. However, Meissen flourished and dominated the production of hard-paste porcelain in Europe until the late 1750s, when Saxony was defeated during the Seven Years War.
In 1745 the arcanum was stolen from Vienna. Porcelain manufactories were consequently established all over the German States and throughout Europe. Most were patronised by local princes and aristocrats, as it became highly fashionable to own a porcelain manufactory. Many of these failed by the end of the eighteenth century, but a few continue to flourish today.
The Gardiner Museum has outstanding holdings of Meissen porcelain given by George and Helen Gardiner. These were substantially expanded by the collection of Dr. Hans Syz, which includes examples from every German porcelain manufactory of the second half of the eighteenth century.
1. The Monkey Orchestra (detail), Germany, Dresden, Meissen, c.1753-1775, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.675.1-.18
2. The Monkey Orchestra (detail), Germany, Dresden, Meissen, c.1753-1775, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.675.1-.18
3. Wall Vase (detail), Austria, Du Paquier, c.1730, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1220
4. Sunflower Dish (detail), England, London, c.1755, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1108.1-2
5. Ewer and Basin (detail), France, Sèvres, c.1758, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G84.1.2
6. Sugar Box with Armorial (detail), Italy, Doccia, c.1745-1750, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1105
7. Gardener with Watering Can (detail), Switzerland, Zurich, c.1770, The Hans Syz Collection, G96.5.421
8. Chocolate Pot (detail), Denmark, Copenhagen, c.1775, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1104
9. Scowling Harlequin (detail), Germany, Meissen, c.1738-40, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.907
10. Teapot (detail), Germany, Meissen, c.1730, decorated at Lauche, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.764
11. Exotic Bird (detail), England, London, St. Jame's Factory, c.1751-1754, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.1005
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