Wednesday 11 September 2013

'Flora Danica' Royal Porcelain

The Flora Danica porcelain service, which was commissioned by the Danish king, can be seen in the Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. Although it is a complete dinner service, the Royal Family mainly used it to serve dessert. The other courses were usually served on silver plates.

Inside the Christianborg Palace, Copenhagen
 This service was made at the time of the Enlightenment, which was a cultural movement of intellectuals in the 17th and 18th centuries. During this period a keen interest was shown in nature and the natural sciences.

 The motifs of the service were not chosen because they were beautiful, but because all the illustrations in the botanical work Flora Danica were to be painted on the porcelain. Mosses, algae, parasitic fungi and other unappetizing things, as well as the flowers, were given a place at a banquet. Originally all the plants were to be shown life-size on the porcelain.

If a stem was too long, it was resolutely cut into several sections, or forced to wind its way precariously along the curved edges of the service.

 The paintings are quite exquisite, and faithfully representative of species. Further elaborate decorations were painted around the edges of the porcelain, along with gold trim. Beautifully sculptured flowers on the top of the serving dishes and on serving platters were also botanically correct.

This was a magnificent display which fitted well with the opulence of the palace itself. I am sure many of us would love to have one of these dishes adorn our table.
It is certainly on my Wish List!!!

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