Landscapes, birds, flowers, opulent decors: This VICTORIA vase combines all disciplines of porcelain painting - and honors the craftsmanship of the master painters at KPM Berlin. An article from our WEISS Magazine No. 5.

Tall and pot-bellied, magnificently painted, enthroned on a pedestal, it stands in front of the viewer: an extraordinary VICTORIA vase is currently on display in the KPM flagship store in Berlin. There is hardly a speck of white porcelain left on it. White rhododendrons bloom in front of dark backgrounds richly decorated with gold ornaments. The back is decorated with light peonies. On the side surfaces, two bullfinches peck at the berries of a rowan tree, a pair of long-tailed tits sit on rosehip branches. The egg-shaped VICTORIA vase was originally designed in 1860 by KPM model master Julius Mantel. It was named in honor of Crown Princess Victoria of Great Britain, who two years earlier had married the future Emperor Frederick III. of Prussia had married.

The version of the VICTORIA vase in the KPM flagship store was created last year: as a kind of exhibition of the craftsmanship expertise of the KPM master painters. All areas of painting should be shown on this monumental vase and its base. Porcelain painters, who specialize in a specific area after training, worked for months on the detailed flowers, landscapes, decorations and bird motifs. They used special techniques. The flower composition was designed by the specialist in soft painting, which was developed at the KPM at the end of the 19th century. The photography of the time is imitated through a gentle color gradient and virtuoso color application. “What looks blurry in old flower photos in our archive was painted more diffusely, so that the flowers in the foreground stand out particularly beautifully,” explains Claudia Tetzlaff, head of the KPM archive and painting instructor. Influenced by Impressionism, the flowers were intended to appear particularly three-dimensional and as if bathed in light. The light flowers have a special effect on the dark background. The unique shade of green could only be achieved through many years of complex experimentation, step-by-step color overlays and multiple firings.

You always discover new things on the VICTORIA vase. It can be admired in the flagship store on the historic grounds of the Royal Porcelain Manufactory in Berlin. Unique: On this VICTORIA vase, which was created in 2020, all areas of painting at KPM Berlin express their skills. Your price: 180,000 euros.

The painting of the base, which gives it a sculptural look, was coordinated with the colors of the vase (dark turquoise, air blue and brown-red). The picture fields are framed by gilding and show color and gold decorations, polychrome paintings and landscape scenes. Even if the viewer inevitably wonders which places are depicted: “The motifs are based on fantasy based on romanticism,” explains Claudia Tetzlaff.

This VICTORIA vase is currently the largest vase model on the grounds of the Royal Porcelain Manufactory in Berlin. It measures just over 70 centimeters – and that’s without a base. The VICTORIA vase has always been a work of art with which KPM Berlin has adorned itself. “It was particularly popular at world exhibitions to demonstrate the skill of manual production,” says Claudia Tetzlaff. The size was a challenge. Because: the higher the vase, the more difficult the firing. The largest specimen measured 2.08 meters. At the Paris World Exhibition in 1900, the KPM Berlin also presented a vase with plastic flowers and huge putti that appeared to be gyrating around on it. “It was typical of historicism. “At that time, everything was supposed to be gigantic,” says the archivist.

Such large vases have a special effect on the viewer. If you stand in front of the VICTORIA vase and step back a little, the individual decors connect with each other. Up close, you can admire the porcelain painting excellence down to the smallest detail - and discover hidden filigree gold decorations, the person on the river bank or a berry pecked by a bird - a spectacle like no other.

Images: Gene Glover & KPM Berlin