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A „porcelain palace“ to rival any in Europe

Rastatt Favorite Palace

Pottery in the open kitchen, Rastatt Favorite Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Arnim Weischer
Special pottery

The glazed earthenware collection

Glazed earthenware is on display on the ground floor. Glazed earthenware was shaped into more than just tableware; it was also turned into vases, planters and figurines. Highlights of the collection: tureens shaped like animals, fruits and vegetables – the Strasbourg factory's “showpieces.”

Ceramic cabbage head from the glazed earthenware collection, Favorite Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Ceramic head of cabbage.

Strasbourg showpieces

Wild birds, a boar's head, a turtle, heads of cabbage, lemons, asparagus... all ceramic! The top half of these figures were designed as nearly invisible lids, which could be removed in order to fill the dish. Presumably, however, the dishes were not used, but only served as representational decor. Margrave Ludwig Georg, the hunt-happy “Jägerlouis”, obtained them around 1750 from the glazed earthenware factory in Strasbourg.

Ceramic boar's head. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Lutz Hecker

Ceramic boar's head.

Imported pieces from France

In 1721, Karl-Franz Hannong and Johann Heinrich Wachenfeld founded the Compagnie Strasbourg-Haguenau glazed earthenware factory. Wachenfeld left Strasbourg two years later and opened his own factory in Durlach. The Strasbourg factory specialized in glazed earthenware production and their notoriety extended far beyond France. The factory was a family-run operation for three generations. The glazed earthenware on display at Favorite Palace was created between 1748 and 1753 by Paul Hannong, Karl-Franz’s son.

Ceramic duck, Rastatt Favorite Palace. Image: Landesmedienzentrum Baden-Württemberg, Lutz Hecker

Ceramic duck.

What is glazed earthenware?

Glazed earthenware is a type of ceramic made of clay and stannic-oxide glaze. Long before porcelain could be manufactured in Europe, manufacturers imitated Chinese porcelain with this white-glazed earthenware decorated in blue. During the Renaissance, Italian craftsmen invented their own ceramic production process and called it Majolica. France imported these luxury ceramics from the Italian city of Faenza and called it “fayencen.” In the 17th century, the French factories cultivated their own special variations. 

Glazed earthenware from Delft

The most famous glazed earthenware originated in Delft. Sibylla Augusta is said to have received the surviving set from the De Grieksche A factory as a wedding present. Several of the plates are even depicted on the ceiling of the margravine's antechamber, which sometimes also served as a dining hall. Two citrus tree planters may have been gifts from the English King William III. The tulip vases demonstrate the value of tulips during that period: each petal is individually shaped.

Painting with Delft plates in the flower room, Rastatt Favorite Palace. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, credit unknown

Painting with Delft plates in the Flower Room.

Glazed earthenware from Durlach

The glazed earthenware factory in Durlach was founded in 1723 by porcelain manufacturer and producer Johann Heinrich Wachenfeld, with a charter license from the town’s founder, Karl Wilhelm von Baden-Durlach. The pieces surviving at Favorite Palace today, some bearing the royal coat of arms and monogram, likely made their way to the palace after the succession of the House of Baden-Durlach in 1771. The blue braided edging and spiral ornaments with flowers is typical of Durlach ceramics.

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