Nymphenburg: Spinning centuries of art history in white gold
The beautiful porcelain made at the Nyphemburg factory in Bavaria is so precious that since the 18th century its recipe has been a closely guarded secret.
The Nymphenburg porcelain factory in Bavaria, southern Germany, has been guarding its secret recipes for porcelain since the mid-18th century – a time when porcelain was known as ‘white gold’ — and its pieces have since graced the tables of many a German aristocrat.
More recently the company has become known for its collaborations with a carefully selected clutch of artists and designers like Damien Hirst, Gareth Pugh, Carsten Höller, Konstantin Grcic and Nick Knight. But though surfaces and forms might change, the tradition remains the same.
Having witnessed the production first-hand, Andreas was astonished to observe how many people work on each exquisite piece, in a choreography of many very small yet precise steps. A particular favourite is the white rhino, based on a miniature sculpture by Peter Anton von Verschaffelt of a pachyderm brought to Europe from the Bay of Bengal in 1741, where it toured the royal courts and became a special attraction at fairs. For Andreas, the piece also inevitably recalls Albrecht Dürer’s famous woodcut of an exotic horned animal that arrived in Lisbon in 1515 from Goa as a gift to the Portuguese king.
Dürer never saw the rhinoceros — the print was based on descriptions and hearsay — but his version remains embedded in art history.
"In recent years, the factory has become known for its collaborations with artists and designers like Damien Hirst, Gareth Pugh and Carsten Höller."