Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

to act—at least he believes he does, and is often at fault.

There are many bric-à-brac shops at Berlin. Herr Lewy, or Levy, or, if you will, Levi—for he is an unquestionable Israelite, as, indeed, nearly all bricà-brac dealers are—is the first to whom I should recommend a visit. Like all dealers, he seeks his price, and a tolerably heavy one it is; but he is fair and truthful, and, moreover, a first-rate judge; and at times he has many articles worthy of admiration. In fact, he is first and foremost, in my humble estimation, as a Berlin dealer. His address was Dorotheen-strasse, No. 20, now changed.

Herr Meier. No. 2, Grenzhaus—commonly called the English Parliament—has by far the largest collection in Berlin – a splendid selection of Venetian glass, and a great variety of carvings and china worthy of the collector's notice. Unless that collector, however, has a very long purse, or intends to purchase at the price desired by Herr Meier, it is as well he should avoid the sin of temptation, and that of coveting what he cannot obtain, which has often been my case.

There are also Herr Arnold, No. 26 on the Linden, and Herr Frescati, No. 21. In the shops of these two gentlemen may sometimes be found rare art-treasures. Happy he who can afford to give the prices asked for them.

Herr Leuschner has also a bric-à-brac shop in Tannen-strasse, No. 15. Formerly he had a modest collection in a shop on the Linden ; but I have invariably found, and practically proved the fact in many foreign capitals, that bric-à-brac sellers rise rapidly as regards fortune. I by no means desire to say unequivocally.

Although the foundation of the celebrated porcelain manufactory and museum of Berlin is to be attributed to the great monarch, statesman, poet, and philosopher, Frederick the Great of Prussia, who, in the midst of the mighty wars in which he was engaged, turned his attention to the beautiful fabric which was beginning to attract the lovers of the fine arts, there had been made in Berlin thirteen years previously (1750), under the immediate direction of Wilhelm Casper Wegel, a first attempt to produce specimens of the ceramic art. Wegel

pretended that he was in possession of certain secrets, and continued to carry on his business for seven years. Some of his works are even now to be met with ; the cipher at the bottom (W) is still to be found. The pieces are well formed, with good colour, exhibiting fair workmanship, painting, glazing, and rich gilding.

In 1761, John Ernest Gotzkowski the younger commenced a new manufactory in the Leipzigerstrasse. He obtained the secret of porcelain fabric from Ernest Heinrich Richard, who had been employed in Wegel's establishment, and, having analyzed the products, had made considerable progress. For the communication of his secrets Gotzkowski gave Richard 4,000 dollars, and for a salary of 1,200 dollars Richard undertook the direction. The celebrated enamel-painter, Jacque Claude, and Elias Meyer, the plastic modeller, from Meissen, with other workmen from the town, joined the establishment. Gotzkowski did not personally pursue his undertaking, but placed it under the management of the commissioner Grunenger, which led to his employment, from the year 1763 to 1786, at the head of the royal porcelain manufactory at Berlin. During the Seven Years' War, King Frederick had an opportunity of noticing the manufactories at Dresden and at Meissen. He induced the best workmen, painters and modellers, among whom were Meyer, Kleppel, and Bohme, to accompany him to Berlin ; and with their assistance, and at his own expense, enriched his metropolis with the important and beautiful porcelain fabric since celebrated throughout Europe. Grunenger had soon to congratulate the king on the further addition of men of talent and celebrity, and Frederick the Great liberally endowed the newly-founded institution. Meyer received an annuity of 1,500 dollars, Kleppel 1,100, and Bohme 1,000.

Grunenger has given an account of his labours to obtain men best adapted for the different departments of the porcelain manufactory; among them Richard Bowman, and others of some note. From the year 1763 must be dated the actual foundation of the royal establishment; for then Gotzkowski, in the month of August, gave up to the king the whole of his fabric of porcelain, receiving 225,000 dollars, and entering into a contract for the sale of his secrets. From the specification and inventory drawn up on the occasion, some idea may be formed of the magnitude of his enterprise. There were 7 administrators, i artist, i model-master,2 picture-inspectors, 6 furnace-men, 3 glaze-workers, 5 lathe-turners, 3 potters, 6 mill-workers, 2 polishers, 6 sculptors, 6 embossers, 6 founders, II designers, 6 earthenwaremoulders, 13 potter-wheel-workers, 3 model-joiners, I girdler, 22 porcelain-painters, 22 picture-colourers, 3 colour-makers, 4 packers and attendants, 8 woodframers; making altogether 147 persons. The attendant expenses were 10,200 dollars. It is calculated that 29,516 red and coloured earthenware, more than 10,000 white vessels, and 4,866 painted porcelain, many of them of grotesque form, and many of the fashion of the day—were fabricated; articles of every description—vases, flacons, groups of various descriptions, statuary, snuff-boxes, fancy articles, earrings, lamps, and everything that the artist could suggest and the

« AnteriorContinuar »