The Arts and Crafts movement was an international trend in the decorative and fine arts that began in England and flourished in Europe and United States between about 1880 and 1920.
This week we are featuring:
CERAMICS - Royal Dux Porcelain Manufacturing Company
Royal Dux is a porcelain company based in the Czech Republic that manufactures figurines and ceramics in Neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles. Some of their most popular pieces include the Bohemia centerpiece (as seen with above image). A member of the Czech Porcelain Group, it has produced its brand of figural and decorative porcelain works since 1853. Model expert Eduard Eichler started the company in Duchov, Bohemia in 1860 and ran it until his death in 1887, recreating historical designs from England, Denmark, and France. Royal Dux pieces are designated by their trademark pink triangle, which serves as a certificate of authentication. The company enjoyed a renaissance in 1958 through the display of Jaroslav Ježek’s collection at the world exhibition in Brussels that year. In 1992, the Duchov factory rebranded itself by changing its name to Royal Dux.
Royal Dux products can be divided into four broad periods of production generally separated by wars and political upheaval: 1860 to WW I; 1919 to WW II; 1947 to 1990 and from 1990 to the present. From 1860 to WW II, ca. 1939, the company operated under the original name Duxer Porzellanmanufaktur, commonly called Royal Dux. After WW II, around 1946-47, the factory was nationalized by the Soviet Union and renamed Duchosvsky Porcelain. The company returned to private ownership with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. Since 1990, molds and variations of company marks from earlier periods have continued to be used as Royal Dux continues production into the 21st century.
Royal Dux introduced one of the most distinctive marks ever placed on porcelain, a raised triangle of pink clay. All factory-applied pink triangles–whether from the 19th, 20th or 21st century–are made from a separate piece of pink clay. The pink clay is applied to the base of Royal Dux white clay bodies. The two separate pieces are fused together during firing. There is virtually never the slightest seam or gap between the pink clay of the triangle and the white clay of the piece to which the triangle is applied.
Before WW I, pink triangles were generally, but not always, left in a bisque, or unglazed, finish. Most Art Nouveau figures in matte glaze, for example, usually have bisque triangles. After WW I, Art Deco figures entirely glazed in a high gloss occasionally have glazed triangles. Pieces with gloss glazes after 1950, especially after 1980 are more likely to have some glaze on the triangle. Although bisque triangles are the general rule, there is considerable variation over the years.
Factory triangles are all roughly the same size, about one-half inch per side and raised about one-sixteenth inch thick, rarely more than one-eighth inch thick. Size varies slightly because some original triangles were slightly deformed when damp.
Appearing in all genuine factory-applied raised pink triangles, regardless of age, is "Royal Dux Bohemia." That lettering appears around an oval shape in the center of the triangle. A crosshatch, or grid-like pattern, is at the top of the oval. Even though the country of Bohemia disappeared at the end of WW I, Royal Dux Bohemia remains in the mark to this day.