What Is Dresden China?

Dresden china is a 19th century style of porcelain-ware. Because of its beauty, its many types and its rarity, it is a favorite among antique collectors and dealers.

Early History

In 1700, the first porcelain shop opened in Meissen, Germany. The luxurious, romantic china that the shop produced quickly became popular, leading to an entire porcelain decorating industry being created in nearby Dresden. This was the area's hub of commercial and artistic activity.

Late History

By the end of the World War II, there were over 200 porcelain shops in the city. The production came to a quick halt, however, when much of the city of Dresden was destroyed during the allied bombings of the region.


Dresden china can be recognized by the markings on the back or bottom of the pieces. All designs include the letter D or the word "Dresden" along with a pictorial representation of a crown. The other elements of the markings denotes in which shop the decorated was created.


The Dresden style of china bares close resemblance to French Rococo designs in that it employed colorfully and elaborately rendered elements such as plants, flowers and fruits. These were popular in the iconography of the Rococo. Another element similar whose beginnings were owed to the Rococo was the frequent use of gold gilding.


The most renowned creators of Dresden china were Richard Klemm, Donath & Co, and Helena Wolfsohn. In addition to place settings and serving pieces, porcelain figurines were produced by Dresden artisans.


Many people that Meissen and Dresden styles are one and the same. Though their beginnings are inter-twined, Meissen artisans considered their influences and designs to be separate from those of their Dresden counterparts. Also, it should be noted that only the decorating of Dresden china was done in Dresden proper. The actual raw porcelain may have come from Meissen or other areas of Germany.