Founded in 1775, Royal Copenhagen is one of the world’s oldest porcelain manufacturers. For more than 235 years its world-famous porcelain has reflected profound respect for tradition and the highest standards of craftsmanship.
By Theresa Valbæk
The Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory, which later became Royal Copenhagen, was founded as the result of experiments carried out by the pharmacist, Frantz Heinrich Müller (1738-1820). In 1774, Müller launched the first Danish porcelain and production with financial backing from Queen Dowager Juliane Marie and her son, Crown Prince Frederik. For almost a century the Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory was operated by the crown. In 1868, the company passed into private hands, but still retained its name and the privilege of flying the swallow-tailed royal ensign. A few years later, the Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory appointed a young artistic director, painter and architect Arnold Krog (1856-1931). He developed new production methods that facilitated the depiction of landscapes and other naturalistic motifs. The new porcelain was showcased at the World Exposition in Paris in 1889, making Royal Copenhagen famous worldwide.
Century-old flagship store
The Royal Copenhagen flagship store on Copenhagen’s main pedestrian street, Strøget, is one of the city’s most illustrious establishments. The heritage store has served customers from near and far for more than a century. The magnificent edifice in Dutch Renaissance style with its curved gables and imaginative downspouts adorned with dragon heads is one of Copenhagen’s oldest buildings, constructed in 1616. The store itself reflects a contemporary style, featuring amazing porcelain displays, a boutique and a café.
Most famous porcelain Flora Danica
Flora Danica is one of the world’s most prestigious and luxurious porcelain collections. Dating from the 1700s, the service was the life’s work of acclaimed porcelain painter Johann Christoph Bayer (1738-1812). The motifs are of wild flowers and plants referenced from the comprehensive botanical atlas known as *Flora Danica*. Commenced in 1790, the dinner service was commissioned by the royal family as a gift for Empress Catherine II of Russia – an avid collector of porcelain. Twelve years later, the 1,802-piece dinner service, uniquely hand-moulded and hand-painted, was fit for royalty. The original service is still used by the Danish royal family and Flora Danica is also much loved by blue-blooded households around the world.
Connoisseurs would argue that the classic Blue Fluted dinnerware perfectly represents the essence of Royal Copenhagen. And with good reason. Their fine white porcelain was first adorned with delicate blue patterns over two centuries ago, in 1775, when the Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory was founded. Since then, Blue Fluted has showcased expert hand-painting traditions, passed down through generations of porcelain painters. Mega At the turn of the millennium, a young Danish design student, Karen Kjældgård-Larsen, presented Royal Copenhagen with a bold new idea: a dramatic reinterpretation of classic Blue Fluted dinnerware. The magnified versions of the classical Blue Fluted design represent a radical take on tradition, yet time-honoured craftsmanship endures. Elements The vivid ‘Elements’ dinnerware was launched in 2008. The collection is the result of an inspired collaboration between Danish designer Louise Campbell and Royal Copenhagen. Offering a cheerful play of colour and shape suited for modern living, the ‘Element’ design is nevertheless deeply rooted in Royal Copenhagen’s time-honoured tradition, drawing on centuries-old design heritage – a lace motif is boldly enthroned in the middle of a saucer; a classic chrysanthemum roams over the side of a circular plate, while an elegant rectangular dish does justice to both sushi rolls and pastry. Contrast The dinnerware ‘Contrast’ reflects a novel marriage between function and beauty for design-loving contemporary audiences. The stylish design reflects a clean-lined ethos typical of Danish design and is perfectly suited for both kitchen and dining room settings.