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HOCHST CHINA - 1746-1796

HISTORY. At the faience factory of Hochst, a town governed by the Archbishop-Elector of Mainz, attempts to produce hard paste porcelain were made as early as 1720 but no success attended these efforts until 1746 when A. F. von Lowenfinck, a painter who had left Meissen, brought thither the secrets of porcelain manufacture. For a number of years the Hochst porcelain venture had a chequered career. Until about 1760 it seems to have been as much engaged in making faience as in producing porcelain. Although some progress had been made and some creditable porcelain products achieved, the undertaking was hampered by financial difficulties, and it was not until 1778 when the Prince-Bishop himself took over the factory that satisfactory conditions prevailed. Most of the work produced at Hochst closely echoed the traditions and practices of Meissen, but in two particulars the factory may claim distinction-the quality of the figures modelled by Johann Peter Melchior and others, which gave the establishment great repute, and the characteristic use of two very beautiful enamel colours made from gold, a light transparent rose largely employed in figure painting and a rich carmine extensively affected in rendering monochrome landscapes and scenes. Political conditions about the end of the century had a disastrous effect upon the fortunes of the factory and it was closed in 1796.

THE BODY. The paste of the early porcelain made at Hochst had a greyish tone. It was not long, however, before the body was brought to the chalky white colour common to most German porcelains.

THE GLAZE. The glaze at first was greyish and marked by some flaws. This, too, was soon improved and made clear and brilliant.

ARTICLES MADE AND CONTOUR. Apart from the making of tableware and the other usual items of decorative requirement, Hochst is famous for its admirable figures, groups and portrait medallions, both glazed and in biscuit, modelled by Melchior and a succession of other capable artists.

Following the lead of Dresden, the shapes of the chinaware for some time were preponderantly in the Rococo manner, although the Neo-Classic impulse was manifest in the later productions.

TYPES OF DECORATION. Besides the use of the two distinctive colours already mentioned, and their application in the manner pointed out, the types of decoration practised at Hochst included most of the Dresden repertoire with. its moulded ribbings, basket-work, Rococo scrolls and other low-relief ornament raised in the paste; fretwork and piercings; "German flowers," "Indian flowers," scattered flowers and flowers in compositions, garlands, wreaths and festoons; diapered or "mosaik" borders; Chinese motifs of different sorts; landscapes, figures and scenes; ground colours and reserved panels with birds and flowers; and the later complement of arabesques and Classic elements.

THE MARKS. The mark was a wheel of six spokes, a device derived from the arms of the Archbishop-Elector, often topped with a crown or the Electoral hat, and fre quently accompanied by a monogram or initials. Occasionally the wheel has only five spokes. Up to about 1770 the mark was impressed in the paste, or else painted in black, brown, purple, iron-red, or gold. After 1770 the mark almost always appeared in underglaze blue. For the most part, the biscuit pieces are unmarked.

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