Sunday, September 14, 2008

R.S. "Pretties"

So many of what I call “the pretties” are from the German porcelain factories of the late 1800s. The Europeans tried to copy the fine porcelain that the traders brought back from their trips to China. A German chemist discovered the secret of making hard-paste porcelain in the early 1700’s, and it gave birth to a porcelain factory in Meissen in 1710, sometimes called Dresden. For nearly a century, it was the “gold” standard for pottery.

Sadly, political disorder in Germany and competition from Sevres porcelain drove the Meissen factory into decline during the late 1700's. It continued to operate but did not make wares of the same artistic quality. Studying the history of artifacts, it becomes evident how much wars and political strife destroy…lives being the worst…but so much culture is also lost.

In the German lines, RS Prussia is a common mark along with ES Germany and RS Germany. One of the most popular was the Schlegelmilch Procelain (say that fast!) Reinhold Schlegelmilch produced R.S. Prussia porcelain at his factory in the town that is now Suhl, Germany from the late 1800s through the beginning of World War. That area was known as Prussia.

R.S. Germany was manufactured in the German province of Thuringia. Schegelmilch also opened a factory in Tilowitz in Silesia (aren’t these great names?).

R.S. Poland is the mark used after WWII for a few years.

Not all the hand painted items were done at the factory. Blanks were shipped out for “crafters” to try their skill at painting on porcelain.

Sadly, there are reproductions. The porcelain is heavier, the pieces have decals instead of hand painted designs, and the wreath marks omit the Prussia word. What is so amazing are the pieces of the past attached to some of the pretties...yes, they are beautiful...but you can imagine how proud someone was of the set to mark it with this label.

The most valuable pieces of R.S. Prussia feature décor other than florals such as portraits, animals, classical themes and landscapes. Unusual objects and mold shapes are also prized by collectors. The pieces which command the higher prices are elaborately decorated and gilded. The lobster dish shown above and below here were designed simply as showpieces. They used to be rather expensive, but they have some down in price. I just find them intriguing...always beautifully crafted. Simple painted florals have values of $10-$20 so you can find pretties for pennies (well, several rolls of them!).


Anonymous said...

hi susan-thank you for taking a moment to visit my blog. what a pretty blog you have! you mom is too cute! :) come visit again!

Noelle Garrett Designs said...

Such pretty things this week. What could possible be better than "pretties" on a budget? Have a great week!

cathy said...

Another interesting post Susan. You need to put all this info into a book. You are just a wealth of info.
My mom has a whole house of this stuff, most of it handed down from her mother. I'm going to have to send you pics to get you to tell me what you know about it. I'm totally clueless but it sure is pretty.

gail said...

Hi Susan,, I think this has been my favorite post. I love this very pretty porcelin with the gold and flowers. I enjoy hearing the history on your post. Thanks. I hope school is going great. Have a nice week...gail

Miniature Patisserie Chef said...


What a great post! Love all the precious tea pots and tea cups!

Have a great week ahead!

Pei Li

Silena said...

Hi Susan, Enjoyed your stories about the European "pretties". I love the historical aspect of so many of your posts. Always fun and interesting....thanks!!!!

Patricia said...

Loved this one. Have loved RS Prussia for ever. Only have a couple pieces--I'm partial to the pale green with flowers. I had heard a few years back that the molds and rights had been sold so alot of repros are out there now. But it's hard to mistake the real thing when it's side by side.


Carolee Crafts said...

Thank you for sharing the lovely china and feminine designs.

Anonymous said...


I love German china and have many pieces. It's nice to know the history behind it. Thanks again.


Carolyn Kocman said...

am i going to be tested on this? love the little pink teapot and the piece in the last pic. i love this stuff.

Bake Me A Cake! said...

The dishes are absolutely beautiful. I can't wait until my girls start putting things aside for their hope chests. Thank you for sharing!

Susan - InHerOwnWords said...

German china is also one of my favorites. I've enjoyed the history lesson! Thanks!

Cottage Flair said...

Gorgeous pieces. I absolutely love hand painted china. Thank you for sharing.

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

Hey Susan,
I just love that lobster dish. My cutie grammy has one like it, but it has orange colors. Such pretty things this week. Thanks for the lesson.

Shabby in Pink Boutique said...

Oh LaLa! I love all those pretties! I love collecting china, there are so many pretty pieces. Hope you have a nice Monday!
Pink Hugs,

Unknown said...

Hi Susan!

The German porcelain pretties are beautiful! I was in Germany back in 1989 for vacation time. I saw so many beautiful things during that time. You always show us such wonderful products. I really enjoy visiting you Susan. Hope you have a happy week ahead!
Janet's Creative Pillows

Janet L Christian said...

Love all the new china. I am very sweet on sugar bowls and creamers.

Inka Smith said...

Lots of pretties Susan. I have a lobster dish that I just love. Thanks for sharing all the pretties with us.

Shabby Shan said...

Very interesting. Thank you for sharing. I love all the pink ones!

Have a nice day!

Deb said...

Susan......RS Prussia has always been a favorite of mine. I'm going to post a link to your blog article for some of my "pottery" friends to read. Thanks for all of the information!


Anonymous said...

very very pretty~