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Fragile Diplomacy: Meissen Porcelain for European Courts, ca. 1710-63, edited by Maureen Cassidy Geiger


Maureen Cassidy Geiger, editor

Winner of the 2007 American Ceramic Circle Book Award in recognition of the book's contribution to the field of ceramic study.


While imported Chinese porcelain had become a valuable commodity in Europe in the seventeenth century, local attempts to produce porcelain long remained unsuccessful. At last the secret of hard-paste porcelain was uncovered, and in 1710 the first European porcelain was manufactured in Saxony. Meissen porcelain, still manufactured today, soon ranked in value with silver and gold.

This thorough and lavishly illustrated volume explores the early years of Meissen porcelain and how the princes of Saxony came to use highly prized porcelain pieces as diplomatic gifts for presentation to foreign courts. An eminent team of international contributors examines the trade of Meissen with other nations, from England to Russia. They also investigate the cultural ambience of the Dresden Court, varying tastes of the markets, the wide range of porcelain objects, and their designers and makers. Individual chapters are devoted to gifts to Denmark, other German courts, the Holy Roman Empire, Italy, France, and other nations. For every Meissen collector or enthusiast, this book will be not only a treasured handbook but also a source of visual delight.

Maureen Cassidy Geiger is an independent scholar and curator of the Arnhold Collection, the most valuable private collection of Meissen in the world. She is also guest curator of decorative arts, the Frick Collection, New York City.

Table of Contents

Susan Weber

Maureen Cassidy-Geiger

Compiled by Eugene J. Kisluk and Maureen Cassidy-Geiger

Chapter 1. Porcelain and Prestige: Princely Gifts and "White Gold" from Meissen
Maureen Cassidy- Geiger

Chapter 2. In the Realm of Meissen Porcelain, "Golden Liberty" and Diplomacy: Saxony and Poland-Lithuania
Eugene J. Kisluk

Chapter 3. Artistry and Chivalry: Diplomatic Gifts for the Kunstkammer and Rustkammer
Dirk Syndram and Jutta Charlotte von Bloh

Chapter 4: In a Porcelain Mirror: Reflections of Russia from Peter I to Empress Elizabeth
Lydia Liackhova

Chapter 5. Liasions Fragiles: Exchanges of Gifts Between Saxony and Prussia in the Early Eighteenth Century
Samuel Wittwer

Chapter 6. Meissen Porcelain for the Imperial Court in Vienna
Johanna Lessmann

Chapter 7. Gifts of Meissen Porcelain to the French Court, 1728-50
Selma Schwartz and Jeffrey Munger

Chapter 8. Denmark and Saxony: Family Ties and Meissen Porcelain
Jorgen Hein and Mogens Bencard

Chapter 9. Porcelain and Diplomacy at the Courts of Hanover and Cologne
Marcus Kohler

Chapter 10. Princes and Porcelain on the Grand Tour of Italy
Maureen Cassidy- Geiger

Chapter 11. Sweden, Hesse-Cassel, and Meissen: The Fragile Peace
Lars Ljungstrom

Chapter 12: Dogs and Diplomats: Meissen Porcelain in England, 1732-54
Meredith Chilton

Chapter 13: Meissen Porcelain and Porcelain Diplomacy: Concluding Remarks
Peter Braun

Checklist of the Exhibition

Appendix: Archival Specifications for Gifts to and from the Saxon-Polish Court 1711-56



4.80 LBS

Other Details


11.3 x 9.8 x 1.2 in.

Page count
400 pages, 400 illustrations

Publication date