This month we feature several pieces from the Royal Copenhagen’s Flora Danica pattern. The first piece is a soup tureen with lid. This piece features handles that are shaped like branches, sculptured flowers, a whiteware porcelain body, and an all-over flower and leaf design. This piece is quite exotic and rare. Tureens from Royal Copenhagen’s Flora Danica can run well over $10,000.00.
The second piece we chose to exhibit is an oval ice basin. This piece features that same porcelain body and floral design as the soup tureen and is used to hold ice. Pieces of this type are valued at more than $5,500.00. Finally, we selected the Flora Danica fruit basket. This luxurious piece can cost more than $4,000.00.
Flora Danica is known as one of the most sought after and costly dinnerware patterns ever produced, and there are several reasons for this. The best explanation is that Flora Danica has it roots in the Danish monarchy, and has come to be known by many as the most prestigious dinnerware service in the world. Flora Danica was commissioned by Danish Crown Prince Frederik on behalf of King Christian VII in 1790, who was actually having the set made for Catherine the Great of Russia. (Rumor has it that the two were having an affair, but this would have to be classified as speculation.) Catherine the Great loved collecting porcelain, and Christian VII was hopeful that receiving an extraordinarily-designed set would make her very, very happy.
The Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactory, founded in 1775, was asked to create a service fit for royalty, whose motif would be a floral study. The task of creating Flora Danica was given to Johann Christoph Bayer. Bayer spent 12 years hand-molding and hand-painting each of the articles that would comprise the first Flora Danica dinnerware service. By the time he was finished, 1,802 different hand-crafted, hand-molded, and hand-painted pieces comprised the set! The service exhibited unique brushstrokes, handles, and other intricate attributes. Each floral study was carefully replicated from a Danish botanical encyclopedia called Flora Danica. Tragically, Catherine the Great died in 1796 and never received the service that was originally commissioned for her. As a result, Flora Danica became the dinnerware service of the Danish monarchy. The first time that Flora Danica graced a table was on January 29, 1803 at a birthday party for the king. Today, 1,503 pieces of the original service survive and most of those pieces continue to be used by Queen Margrethe II on the Christiansborg Palace table. Some pieces have been moved to Rosenborg Castle for display and others reside at Amalienborg Palace, the official home of the Queen. The next production of a Flora Danica service was done in 1863 as a wedding gift to Princess Alexandra and King Edward VII of England. Queen Alexandra’s Flora Danica dinnerware now resides in Windsor Castle and is used by Queen Elizabeth II, her family, and guests. Most recently, the Danish People gave a service of Flora Danica to Crown Prince Frederik and Mary Donaldson when they wed on May 14th, 2004. This Flora Danica service bears the couple’s insignia as designed by the Crown Prince’s mother, Queen Margrethe II. It is easy to see the exceptional design quality of this pattern in this month’s museum feature.
Although Flora Danica has its roots in royalty, the pattern is available for purchase by the public, and Royal Copenhagen continues to make the service using the same hand-crafted quality methods used for more than two centuries. While the pieces highlighted here, like all of our museum items, are not for sale, we do carry a wide variety of exquisite Flora Danica pieces that are for sale. You can see these starting at the link below, or by visiting us in person. Royal Copenhagen’s Flora Danica is truly amazing, so if you can make it to our facilities in person, by all means do so! Our Showroom and Museum are open from 9:00am to 7:00pm ET, 7 days (except holidays). The Showroom and Museum are conveniently located between Greensboro and Burlington, NC, at exit 132 off Interstate 85/40.
Click here to see our entire selection of Flora Danica, and to order online via our secure form!