Give thanks for what you have
DRESDENIn English speaking countries the name "Dresden" is synonymous with Meissen and a source of great confusion. How this misnomer arose has not been explained satisfactorily. It is possible though, that Dresden as the capital of Saxony was better known in the Europe of the 18th century as the city of Meissen, some 25 kilometers away. Furthermore, most of the Meissen products that were sold in Dresden, where British importers also conducted their business and might have adopted the name "Dresden" for Meissen porcelain.
In the second half of the 19th century the mistake became a monster. At this time some 30 porcelain decorating shops were established in the city of Dresden, many of them imitating the Meissen decorating style and even elaborating on it, mixing the Meissen and the Vienna styles.
Thus a "Dresden Style" came into being, further contributing to an already existing confusion. Some decorators in Dresden evidently cooperated in creating this "Dresden Style" and chose a common mark for their products. Four decorators, Richard Klemm, Donath & Co., Oswald Lorenz and Adolph Hamman appeared in unison in the City Court in Dresden on February 7th, 1883 and registered the same mark for all four of them (#1209). Ten years later Klemm, Donath & Co., and Hammann adopted slightly different marks (#1211, 1213, and 1215, Lorenz changed his mark completely (#1441) to one close resembling the Vienna mark. Eight more decorators also used a crown and the name "Dresden."
Here's some information supplied to me by a friend. As I learn more I will update it here:
Irish Dresden -- A short History
The process of making Irish Dresden was first discovered in the ancient town of Messier near Dresden in Germany in the early 18th Century and later became a specialty of the German states of Saxon and Theuringia.
The town of Volkstedt in Theuringia became famous for a special type of porcelain figurine where cotton net is impregnated with porcelain clay so that, after firing, the delicate lace pattern remains in the figurine.
In the late 19th Century, Anton Muller, a talented young artist, established a workshop in Volkstedt and quickly gained a reputation for his fine lace figurines and other fine gift articles produced by his family bear Anton Muller's original stamp trademark; the crown over the letters ‘MV', for Muller - Volkstedt.
Anton Muller, who died in 1937, was succeeded by his son Herman, also a gifted artist, who continued to develop the family business. By the late 1930's Muller-Volkstedt was well established and was exporting world-wide.
Disaster struck during the second World War when the factory was completely destroyed, Herman Muller died and his only son Erich a ceramic engineer was killed on the Eastern Front. The family tradition was saved by the present owner, Johanna Saar, niece of Herman Muller, and her husband Oskar, who inherited the ruined factory. Many of the valuable old master moulds were found untouched in the cellars under the ruins and, despite tremendous difficulties, the factory was rebuilt in 1945. Just as the business began to flourish again the Saar family were forced to leave their home in what was then East Germany. Following a short period in the Black Forest, Johanna and Oskar chose Ireland as the base from which they would further develop their unique craft.
In 1962, the factory now known as "Irish Dresden' was established at Dromcolliher, County Limerick. The process had begun of establishing in Ireland the traditions and skills of fine lace porcelain manufacture, previously to be found only in Theuringia.
In 1968 tragedy struck again with the untimely death of Oskar Saar. The family tradition survived yet again however, and Irish Dresden, now run by Johanna Saar and her daughter Sabina, continues to produce magnificent porcelain figures and other fine porcelain giftware under the original stamp of ‘Muller-Volkstedt'.
THE PRODUCTION PROCESS
Artistry and craft skills are the foundation on which Irish Dresden figurines are based. The skill of the artist produces the original design for each delicately formed piece while the hand of the craftsman is continuously in evidence during the manufacturing process.
The process begins with an artists design in modeling clay of which master moulds are made in Plaster of Paris. Many moulds may be required for each piece as there may be up to fifty components in any one figurine or group. Specially formulated porcelain ‘slip' is poured into working forms which mould makers produce from the original masters. When the Plaster of Paris has absorbed sufficient water from the porcelain slip the various parts are taken out of the moulds and re-assembled according to the original design.
After a slow process of air drying at strictly controlled temperature the pieces are baked for the first time in the ‘biscuit fire' at a temperature of 900 C (1,650 F). Real cotton lace impregnated with porcelain clay is used to dress the figurines with the ruffles at this stage, and miniature hand made porcelain flowers or other decorations are added. The figurines are then glazed and baked for the second time in the ‘glaze fire' at the much higher temperature of 1300 C (2370 F). During this firing the figurine shrinks to 22.6 and the lace material burns away leaving its delicate matter in the porcelain. At the final stage the figurines are individually hand painted by craftsmen, each of whom must have the skill of an artist to achieve the exacting standards required in painting Irish Dresden figurines. The final firing, the ‘pain fire', this time at a temperature of 800 C (1400 F), turns the decorated porcelain into the brilliant and precious piece of fine art that is Irish Dresden, made for enjoyment and pleasure, the ideal gift for the collector.
CARING FOR IRISH DRESDEN FIGURINES
While the lace decoration on Irish Dresden is very fragile and requires careful treatment, the figurines themselves are stronger than may be first apparent. Extreme care should be taken when removing unwrapping to avoid damage to lace. Figurines should be held by the head or the base.
When cleaning, care must be taken not to damage the lace or other fine decorations. Figurines may be washed in warm soapy water and should be rinsed and left to dry naturally.
THE IRISH DRESDEN MARK
All Irish Dresden pieces are base stamped in blue with the famous crown and ‘MV' depicting the family tradition dating from the earliest days of Mueller-Volkstedt, with the name Irish Dresden beneath.
The name of each figurine is also hand-written on the base.
In recent years the date of manufacture of Irish Dresden pieces is shown by the use of a small shamrock base stamp color coded as follows:
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