An alchemist fibbed to the King of Poland, and that is why we have European porcelain. That is how this towering, decadent Capodimonte lamp from Victorian Naples came to be.
The alchemist’s name was Johann Friedrich Böttger, and he proclaimed to King Augustus of Poland that he had achieved that impossible dream we all have, to be able to turn worthless materials into gold. Gentleman that he was, Augustus put Böttger in protective custody and delicately encouraged him to produce gold.
Simultaneous to this obviously futile experiment, Augustus had employed an actual mathematician and scientist, Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus, to help him solve another champagne problem: importing Asian fine porcelain was expensive. China and Japan didn’t just have a monopoly on fine porcelain, they were the porcelain trade. There had been many failed attempts to develop the same techniques as Asian artisans had used for centuries, and King Auggie wanted Tschirnhaus to figure it out.
He made Tschirnhaus babysit Böttger, and while Böttger failed at his own experiment, he was reluctantly put to work as a lab assistant to Tschirnhaus. When Tschirnhaus died suddenly, the recipe was turned over to Böttger, and allegedly Böttger announced one week later that he had figured out the secret sauce. In 1710, Meissen porcelain, its factory financed by King Augustus, became Europe’s first hard-paste porcelain.
33 years later, King Augustus’ granddaughter, Queen Maria Amalia, had married King Charles of Bourbon and moved to Naples. She brought with her secrets of the Meissen family legacy, and combined with her husband’s enterprising manufacturing efforts, the two of them set out to craft an even finer, silkier porcelain that could compete with Meissen. Capodimonte was born, its signature opulence unrivaled even today.
Extra credit: 10% off any item if you can prove that Böttger did NOT murder Tschirnhaus for his recipe.
Players' bows have damage, but finding a Capodimonte musicians lamp without damaged bows may only happen when pigs fly (hopefully soon).
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