Teapot

ARTIST / MAKER: Potsdam Glass Factory (manufacturer)
DATE: 1713-18 (made) glass
ca. 1750 (made) mounts
PLACE: Germany (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Ruby glass with silver-gilt mounts
COLLECTION NUMBER: 521

This teapot was designed in honour of Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, whose royal arms are etched on the glass body. Johann Kunckel, the court chemist to the Elector of Saxony, became the director of the Potsdam glass factory in Berlin in 1678. There he experimented to improve glass formulas, which led to the creation of rubinglas (ruby glass) which was produced by adding gold chloride to a standard batch of glass. The Potsdam factory remained active until 1736, and it is likely that this fine rubinglas teapot is from the later years of their production. However, the shape of this piece corresponds to styles that were in production at the Meissen porcelain manufactory and there is an argument to suggest that this pot was actually made by Johann Friedrich Böttger. Böttger experimented with glass recipes at the Ostra Glasshouse in Dresden, producing rubinglas to rival Kunkel. The gold mounts were likely added later in the 1750s. An identical, larger rubinglas teapot, also bearing the arms of Augustus the Strong, is now in the Dresden Museum in Germany.