The Meissen Gallery, the fourth gallery in the Maridon Museum, houses Mrs. Phillips’ extensive collection of Meissen porcelain. Started in 1713, the Meissen factory began producing the figural objects that have enticed collectors like Mrs. Phillips ever since. In addition to those qualities inherent to Meissen — its luminous colors and delicate molding — the company’s use of the same molds over decades, or even centuries, of time attracts collectors who seek individual pieces of a particular set or vignette. Mrs. Phillips’ collection at the Maridon, for example, includes almost all the objects in groupings such as The Monkey Band, The Paris Criers, The Arts, The Senses, and
Meissen collectors will appreciate the extent of Mrs. Phillips’ collection, but even casual visitors will enjoy the artistry and vibrancy of these pieces as well as the wit, whimsy, and sentiment they portray. Mrs. Phillips’ collection contains portrayals of both notable and ordinary people, animals, caricatures, humorous incidents, and dramatic scenes. One does not need to be a connoisseur of fine porcelain to enjoy their subject matter or appreciate their exquisite figural detail.
Meissen was the first porcelain to be produced in the western world; production began in 1710 under the aegis of August the Strong and continues to the present day. The Maridon exhibition contains a piece belonging to August the Strong as well as one piece that pre-dates the establishment of the factory itself. Several other pieces from the early seventeenth century also are on display. Two examples of the famous Swan pattern dinner service, which was created in 1736 and included over 2,000 pieces, are on display.
In the eighteenth century Meissen was known for detailed and brilliantly colored figural pieces that exemplified the baroque and rococo styles of the period. The exhibition features about one hundred of these figural pieces, including characters from Italian comedy, allegorical scenes, art nouveau pieces, and large comical vignettes depicting the foibles of eighteenth century society. Thirteen pieces from Meissen’s famous “Monkey Band”, a mid-eighteenth century satirical work are on display.
In addition to the display, free docent tours are available. Reservations are required for group tours, and are suggested for docent tours and the video presentation. The museum telephone number is 724.282.0123.