ARTIST / MAKER: Johann Jakob Irminger (designer)
Meissen porcelain factory (manufacturer)
DATE: ca. 1714-1719 (made)
PLACE: Germany (made)

The secret of Chinese porcelain production was finally understood in Germany in 1708 and led to the growth of the European porcelain industry. The discovery of hard-paste porcelain is credited to the mathematician, physicist and physician Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. Following his death, the alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger began producing porcelain at the Meissen porcelain manufactory, where this teapot was created. Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony had provided the momentum for Böttger’s experiments and eventually established the Meissen manufactory in 1710. Böttger’s red stoneware, for which the manufactory was originally famed, was eventually supplanted by white porcelain wares such as this teapot. The Dresden court silversmith, J.J. Irminger became responsible for the artistic direction of these wares around 1714. He was greatly influenced by Chinese ‘blanc de chine’ and Japanese Arita porcelain as well as contemporary European silver objects. In designing this teapot, Irminger compensated for the lack of enamel colours by attaching sculptural elements, known also as ‘Irmingersche Belege’ (Irminger encrustations).