Painted porcelain or china, whether tableware or figures, continued to constitute a major component of household goods for middle-class and elite homes in the nineteenth century as before, with much of the porcelain and the painting from Europe rather than from Asia. A market for commemorative images on porcelain, reflecting historic events and persons, had also developed by the early nineteenth century. In this case, the Royal Porcelain Manufactory [Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur or KPM] in Berlin produced teacups and saucers celebrating the Allied and Prussian victory over Napoleon at the Battle of the Nations around Leipzig in 1813. Porcelain manufacturers had developed a process whereby the lines of a printed map could be transferred onto porcelain and then hand-painted, which allowed them to produce relatively larger numbers of such decorative objects. Here the saucers featured a battlefield situation map reflecting the positions of the Allied and French armies around the city in October 1813. The floral decoration on the cup records the pivotal year 1813, while the lettering below the rim lists several important earlier battles in which the Prussians took part, including the Battle of the Katzbach on August 26, 1813, and the Battle of Culm (Chlumec) in Bohemia on August 30, 1813.

Cup and Saucer Commemorating the Battle of the Nations around Leipzig (c. 1815)


Source: Deutsches Historisches Museum, Inv.-Nr. N 77 1258.1-2

© Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin