Kpm ceramics

Kpm ceramics DEFAULT

KPM - made in Berlin

About the brand KPM Berlin

KPM Berlin - the Royal Porcelain Manufactory Berlin - has been producing unique porcelain for over 250 years. Founded in 1763 by Frederick the Great, the manufactory still stands today for handmade luxury, stylish design and the highest quality standards. In the tradition of the best craftsmanship, exclusive porcelain has been created over the centuries, which has written design history. Today KPM is privately owned and the manufactory develops not only the famous classics but also innovative design products such as the coffee-to-go cups in the legendary Kurland design.

Friedrich the Great - a founder with visions

Porcelain was the great passion of Frederick II of Prussia. In 1763 he took over an already existing porcelain manufactory in Berlin. He gave the Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin the "royal" name - and his cobalt blue sceptre as a trademark. As an entrepreneur, Frederick II of Prussia showed a sense of responsibility: he abolished child labour, ensured regular working hours, introduced pensions and a company health insurance fund. Until Wilhelm II's abdication in 1918, KPM Berlin was owned by seven kings and emperors.

From rococo to modern - KPM stands for stylish design in all eras

Many KPM classics have written history and are partly associated with nice anecdotes. For example the porcelain form Neuzierart, which was decorated with a matt, delicate blue - the so-called "Bleu mourant" - in 1784 at Frederick's request. This becomes an often quoted word of the Berliners: If they feel uncomfortable and as tired as this "Bleu mourant", they become completely "flowery".

The Kurland collection is also famous. In 1790 Peter Biron, Duke of Kurland, commissioned the manufactory to produce a dinner service. It was intended to enrich the furnishings of his Friedrichsfelde Palace in East Berlin. The dinnerware is still produced at KPM today and has lost none of its appeal. The most recent example is KPM's coffee-to-go cup, on which the decor looks fresh and modern.

With the end of the monarchy in 1918, KPM became the State Porcelain Manufactory and the producer of countless modern design icons. One example of this is the Urbino porcelain line by sculptor Trude Petri, designed in the spirit of the Bauhaus in 1931.

KPM - Made to stay

With the words "Made to stay" KPM expresses its philosophy today. In the 21st century, the company is willing to "cultivate tradition, create consistent values and create style". Even today, KPM porcelain receives the cobalt blue sceptre - but only after it has undergone numerous work steps and strict quality controls. The porcelain pieces are almost exclusively produced by hand. The decors are made today, as they were then, in freehand painting. Thus each piece has a unique character.

The company has long since ceased to be royal property. Following long-standing ownership by the state of Berlin, KPM Berlin has been fully privatised since 2006.

At Artedona you can order every service and every product of the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin.

PDF overviews on the different KPM product lines

All Arkadia patterns (PDF 736 KB)All Berlin patterns (PDF 1,1 MB)All Ceres patterns (PDF 346 KB)All Feldblume patterns (PDF 354 KB)All Kurland patterns (PDF 872 KB)All Neuosier patterns (PDF 517 KB)All Neuzierat patterns (PDF 441 KB)All Rocaille patterns (PDF 788 KB)All Urania patterns (PDF 437 KB)All Urbino patterns (PDF 452 KB)

Royal Porcelain Factory, Berlin

German porcelain manufacturer

Exterior of the KPM building in 2009

The Royal Porcelain Factory in Berlin (German: Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin, abbreviated as KPM), also known as the Royal Porcelain Manufactory Berlin and whose products are generally called Berlin porcelain, was founded in 1763 by King Frederick II of Prussia (known as Frederick the Great). Its actual origins, however, lie in three private enterprises which, under crown patronage, were trying to establish the production of "white gold" (i.e. porcelain) in Berlin from the mid-18th century onwards.

The company logo is a cobalt blue sceptre, which is stamped (painted prior to 1837) on every piece. All painted pieces produced by KPM are signed by the painter. KPM is still producing to this day; each piece of dishware and decorative porcelain is entirely unique.

KPM has produced a number of dishware forms and porcelain figurines throughout its history. Some forms have hardly changed their shape in over 200 years of production. Frederick the Great, who, as the owner, jokingly referred to himself as his own "best customer", was under the spell of the Rococo style during his life; a culmination of this artistic style can be seen in his castles.

To this day, the most successful designs of the 1930s are the Urbino, Urania and Arkadia (originally a tea set designed in honor of KPM's 175th anniversary) created by Trude Petri. The Arkadia medallions were created by Siegmund Schütz and the Urania set (with the same basic form as the Arkadia) did not enter production until after the war, as was also the case with the Arkadia table set. Porcelain figurines of different styles corresponding to each era have always been created under the guidance of the master workshop, including the modern animal sculptures, such as the miniature Buddy Bear or the Knut Bear.



Before KPM was founded, two attempts had already been made to establish a porcelain manufactory in Berlin. In 1751, the Berlin wool manufacturer Wilhelm Caspar Wegely was granted the royal privilege to set up a porcelain manufactory in Berlin.[2] Furthermore, Frederick II of Prussia granted him exemption from duties for the import of essential materials and assured him of the exclusion of all competition.

Wegely hired first-class craftsmen from his competitors, and appointed the porcelain sculptor Ernst Heinrich Reichard to the post of chief modeller. However, technical difficulties and the Seven Years’ War between Prussia and Saxony soon proved to be the enterprise's downfall. In 1757, he dissolved his company and sold its inventories, equipment and materials to the Berlin businessman Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky.

In 1761, the second porcelain manufactory in Berlin started its operations.[3] Gotzkowsky concluded an agreement with Wegely's chief modeller, Ernst Heinrich Reichard, who was in possession of the secret formula known as the arcanum. Reichard received 4,000 thaler for the arcanum, and another 3,000 for the stock of porcelain and other materials. Furthermore, he undertook to work for Gotzkowsky as a keeper of the arcanum and as the manager. Gotzkowsky also agreed to take over Reichard's eight workers.

Appreciated and supported by the King of Prussia, Gotzkowsky managed to attract important artists and qualified employees. Right at the start, Gotzkowsky appointed Friedrich Elias Meyer, a pupil of Johann Joachim Kändler at the Meissen porcelain factory, Germany's leading porcelain maker, to the post of chief modeller,[4] and Carl Wilhelm Boehme to the post of head of the porcelain-painting department. Gotzkowsky bought another building next to his own property at Leipziger Straße 4, and he began to build a manufactory on the site.

Nevertheless, Gotzkowsky's finances began to deteriorate. Since the royal exchequer was in the red on account of the war, Gotzkowsky believed that he stood little or no chance of obtaining assistance from the king. The end of the war also signalled the end for Gotzkowsky's manufactory. Today, the porcelain pieces from the early days marked with a W for Wegely und a G for Gotzkowsky are extremely rare and highly coveted collector's items.

Royal purchase[edit]

On 19 September 1763, Frederick II officially became the manufactory's new owner.[5] He purchased the manufactory for the considerable sum of 225,000 thaler and took over the staff of 146 workers. He gave the business its name and allowed it to use the royal sceptre as its symbol. From then on, it was called the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin ("Royal Porcelain Manufactory Berlin") and became a model of how to run a business. There was no child labour, there were regular working hours, above-average incomes, secure pensions, a healthcare fund and assistance for widows and orphans.


Plate from hard-paste porcelain breakfast set, c. 1765

The manufactory's most important client was Frederick the Great, who sometimes jokingly referred to himself as his “best customer”. From 1765 to his death in 1786, Frederick II placed orders with KPM for porcelain to the value of 200,000 thaler. For his palaces alone, he ordered 21 dinner services, each of them with 36 place settings and up to 500 separate parts, complemented by elaborate table centrepieces. In addition, most of his diplomatic presents came from the manufactory, and they were to be found at the court of the tsars in Russia and on the tables of European aristocracy.

The factory was mainly known in this period for dinner services, with a fine white porcelain body with "a faint yellowish, slightly grey tinge". As would remain the case, the painting in overglaze enamel was of very high quality.[6]

The services’ design and colouring was meticulously created to match the interior decoration of the rooms in which they were to be used. Frederick commissioned the first KPM table service in 1765 for the New Palace, Potsdam. The dinner service known as Reliefzierat was designed in the Rococo style by modelling master Friedrich Elias Meyer, who would later design many more services for the king. The ornamentation of the relief, made of gilded rocailles and flower espaliers, finds its counterpart in the stucco ceiling of the New Palace. The following years saw the appearance of the Neuzierat, Neuglatt, Neuosier and Antique Zierat (later named Rocaille) dinner services, which are still produced today.

In 1784, after a four-year development period, the king's desire for a soft and delicate shade of blue was fulfilled. The colour was known as Bleu mourant ("dying blue"), and it was used to decorate Neuzierat, Frederick's favourite dinner service. The colour was predominant in the king's private chambers at Sanssouci Palace and in the blue chamber of the New Palace in Potsdam, as well as in other castles.


Towards the end of the century Neoclassical designs were introduced, beginning another enduring feature of the factory; this began in the 1770s, so preceeding Frederick the Great's death in 1786, despite his own preference for Rococo styles.[7] The cheerful soft-brush forms of Rococo gave way to the harder lines of Neoclassicism.

Frederick the Great's successor, his nephew Frederick William II was not much interested in the factory,[8] but it continued to flourish. He obtained what he needed in the way of porcelain from KPM, but stopped paying cash. The amounts due were deducted from his share of the profits. From 1787 onwards, the average annual net profit came to more than 40,000 thaler.

In 1790, a dinner service in the new style was designed by KPM: KURLAND, which has been one of the greatest successes of the manufactory up to date. It bears the name of its commissioner, Peter von Biron, Duke of Kurland, one of the richest and most refined men of his time. Leading German artists of the time, like Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Johann Gottfried Schadow and his pupil Christian Daniel Rauch designed vases and sculptures for KPM. The most famous item among them is the Prinzessinengruppe (Two Princesses), after a design by Johann Gottfried Schadow.

From the start of the 19th century the factory developed a new market among the expanding bourgeoisie, selling highly decorated "cabinet cups" (with saucers) either singly or in pairs. These were intended for display in glass-fronted cabinets rather than actual use.[9]

In the first half of the 19th century, KPM was a leader in the production of pictorial and veduta porcelain among the big European manufactories. One of the most important veduta painters was Carl Daniel Freydanck. Under the leadership of Georg Friedrich Christoph Frick, the manufactory's managing director from 1832, Freydanck designed a series of works depicting beautiful cityscapes of Berlin and Potsdam. Presented as regal gifts, they shaped the image of a new Berlin in the eyes of other European sovereigns.

New manufactory[edit]

In 1867, KPM had to make way for the construction of the Prussian Parliament close to Potsdamer Platz. The new building was on the edge of the Tiergarten. It cost 360,000 thaler. On account of its position by the river Spree, it was now possible to transport raw materials and manufactured goods on barges. Constructed between 1868 and 1872, it was equipped with the most modern techniques of the day.

KPM Rococo-inspired porcelain vase and plinth

KPM has always been a pioneer in the ceramic industry from a technological aspect. This is particularly true regarding the discoveries and technical progress that came about in the late 19th century. Since 1878, the manufactory has been associated with a Chemical-Technical Research Institute. The institute's director, Hermann August Seger, produced numerous innovations that substantially increased KPM's proficiency in designing moulds and working with colours. Among his many inventions, Seger developed new kinds of porcelain underglaze colours, as can be seen on the wall plate showing a view of Berlin Cathedral. Oxblood, celadon, crystal- and dripped glazes were created, inspired by Chinese ceramics. They enabled new forms of artistic expression, which made Seger into an early pioneer of Art Nouveau.

Art Nouveau[edit]

In 1886, Alexander Kips was appointed artistic director of KPM Berlin. With painted porcelain tiles, he helped the company to achieve commercial success. His successor, Theodor Schmuz-Baudiss, artistic director as of 1908, promoted the use of Seger's glazes, and thus brought KPM fame and admiration at international art exhibitions.

KPM's Wedding Procession is one of the most significant pieces of Berlin Art Nouveau. The sculptor, Adolf Amberg, created the design of centerpiece consisting of several figurines made of silver, in honour of the wedding of Crown Prince Frederick William of Prussia and Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. However, the design was too daring for the court, as the bride was depicted naked. Theodor Schmuz-Baudiss recognised the artistic significance of the design and had it transformed into porcelain in 1908. The Wedding Procession was awarded the gold medal at the 1910 World Exposition in Brussels.

After the demise of the monarchy in 1918, KPM became the State Porcelain Manufactory Berlin. However, the KPM mark and the sceptre were retained.

Bauhaus and New Objectivity[edit]

Under the new director, Günther von Pechmann, the ideas of Deutscher Werkbund and Bauhaus influenced the craftsmen of KPM Berlin from 1929 onwards. The aim was to design contemporary, matter-of-fact household porcelain. Famous designs of this time encompass Trude Petri's dinner service URBINO, and Marguerite Friedlaender's Halle vases, created in cooperation with Burg Giebichenstein Art School.

In the 1930s, the assumption of power by the National Socialists had serious consequences for many of KPM's artists: Marguerite Friedlaender was forced to emigrate because of her Jewish background. Ludwig Gies and Gerhard Marcks were dismissed and denied exhibitions because of their loyalty with Jewish colleagues. In 1941, the art teacher, painter and writer Gerhard Gollwitzer, who had been dismissed from his teaching position, became artistic director of KPM. In the nights of 22 and 23 November 1943, the manufactory's premises were destroyed in an Allied air raid.

New paths[edit]

After World War II, KPM moved into temporary quarters in Selb, Upper Franconia, where there had once been plans to enlarge the company. From Franconia, KPM continued to supply the market with decorative porcelain and tableware. In the meantime, some of the staff reconstructed the Berlin premises. In 1957, manufacturing returned to the historic premises in Berlin's Tiergarten district after they had been rebuilt.

As a result of a resolution adopted by the Senate of Berlin in 1988, KPM became a limited company and was now called KPM Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin GmbH. In the 1990s, KPM began to re-emphasize its cultural and craft traditions. It rediscovered historic shapes, colours and patterns. Important dinner services from the era of New Objectivity were reissued. After the triumphant success of a vase collection launched in 1994, KPM presented the BERLIN dinner service, created in cooperation with the Italian modernist designer Enzo Mari.

From 1998 to 2003, the KPM QUARTIER was refurbished by architects Gerkan, Marg and Partners according to curatorial standards. At the same time, the production technology was updated. In 2006, after several previous attempts at privatisation, Berlin banker Jörg Woltmann took over the Royal Porcelain Manufactory Berlin and became the sole shareholder. In the same year, KPM opened its newly designed sales gallery in the historic kiln hall. Additional KPM shops are located in Berlin, Potsdam, Hamburg and Cologne. In 2007, the company opened the KPM WELT exhibition at the KPM QUARTIER, a company museum dedicated to the company's 250 years of history and craftsmanship of making porcelain.

In the recent past, new ground has been broken through collaborations with luxury brands, such as Bottega Veneta and Bugatti Automobiles. In 2011, KPM designed the exterior and interior of a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport “L’Or Blanc” in cooperation with the car manufacturer. In 2012, a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport “Wei Long” was outfitted with dragon motifs.

On the occasion of KPM's 250th anniversary in 2013, the special exhibition Royal Porcelain Manufactory Berlin 1763-2013 provided a representative overview of the manufactory's creative periods, with 300 works from 18 private collections.



Iron-red orb and KPM marks, underglaze-blue sceptreand eagle and circle marks

When Frederick the Great took over the manufactory from the Berlin merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky on 19 September 1763, he also provided the brand's emblem: the cobalt blue sceptre from the electoral coat-of-arms of Brandenburg. The porcelain is marked after the first firing and before the glazing process. Before the sceptre is applied to the porcelain, the item is subject to strict quality control measures. Afterwards, the porcelain is glazed and fired for the second time. The color bonds inseparably with the glaze and makes the piece of porcelain forgery-proof.

In the beginning, the trademark was applied in blue on white porcelain and in brown on painted porcelain. In 1837, the letters KPM were added to protect the brand from counterfeits. A few years later, the royal Prussian eagle became part of the trademark. In the following decades, the trademark underwent slight changes until the production was transferred to Selb. In those years (1944-1957), the porcelain was marked with the letter “S” underneath the sceptre. In 2000, the letters KPM were reintroduced as part of the logo.

Imperial orb[edit]

Since 1803, painted porcelain has been receiving an additional mark in over glaze-colour to confirm the authenticity of the decor. Today, an imperial orb is usually stamped next to the sceptre. It is proof that the decor has been done by a KPM porcelain painter. The colour of the orb differs according to the type of decor.

A red orb indicates all floral painting as well as figurative scenes and landscapes. A green orb is used for all non-floral decorative elements. Items with a blue orb are fired at a very high temperature and are dishwasher safe. A black orb is used to mark items with printed decor – for example, customized pieces featuring company logos.

Painters’ signature[edit]

Generally, the decors of KPM Berlin are hand painted. The porcelain painters are free to interpret the motifs within the design specifications. When finished, the painter signs the porcelain he has decorated. Each piece of porcelain thus becomes a unique work of art.


KPM has created a large number of services, vases and figurines. The manufactory draws from an ever-growing stock of more than 150,000 moulds. Some of the moulds have been in production more or less unmodified since the company was established 250 years ago.


Among the table services currently in production, there are three Rococo forms (ROCAILLE, NEUZIERAT and NEUOSIER), which originally were commissioned by Frederick the Great for his various palaces, and there are designs from the Classic, Art Nouveau and Bauhaus periods as well as from the present:

  • In 1767, KPM modelling master Friedrich Elias Meyer created a table service in the style of the Prussian Rococo for Wroclaw Palace. It was during the reign of Frederick William IV that the form, still produced today, was given its current name ROCAILLE. The prestigious service that amongst other occasions was also ordered for the Potsdam City Palace, received various forms of décor, personally influenced by Frederick the Great. Today, ROCAILLE is used at state banquets in Bellevue Palace, the official seat of the President of Germany.
  • NEUZIERAT, the favourite service of Frederick the Great, was designed for the New Palace in Potsdam. It became famous for its flower decoration in a faint-blue colouring: Bleu mourant – “dying blue”. The king had a weakness for this colour, which was predominant in his private chambers at Sanssouci Palace. It took the manufactory four years to develop this particular shade of blue as porcelain colour. It is still produced today, according to a secret formula.
  • The design of NEUOSIER from 1770 is based on the model of nature. Inspired by the French osier (wickerwork) the relief simulates the structure of a woven basket. The handles are shaped as branches. Elaborately decorated with bouquets of flowers and golden foliage NEUOSIER was made for Crown Prince Frederick William II in 1780. After his accession to the throne, it was used at the royal table of Sanssouci Palace.
  • Around 1790, KPM produced a large “service with an antique border” in the classicist style for Peter von Biron, Duke of Kurland. The service was later renamed KURLAND in his honour. It is still one of the greatest successes of the manufactory today. English silverware served as design model for the relief adorning the rims of all items. KURLAND quickly found admirers in the Prussian royal family. King Frederick William II, the nephew of and successor to Frederick the Great, gave it to his uncle Prince Henry of Prussia in a particularly opulent decor with colourful natural field flowers. On the occasion of its 250th anniversary, KPM created two new interpretations of the classic tableware: KURLAND Blanc Nouveau which combines glazed surfaces and reliefs made of biscuit porcelain, and KURLAND Royal Noir with a precious black and gold decor.
  • In 1912, Theodor Schmuz-Baudiss designed CERES to mark KPM's 150th anniversary. The design pays tribute to the opulence of late Art Nouveau. At the same time it is one of KPM's last major works of this epoch. The relief on this shape consists of overflowing with fruit and ears of corn.
  • Along with ARKADIA and FELDBLUME, URBINO represents the era of New Objectivity and Bauhaus at KPM. Designer Trude Petri was awarded the Grand Prix at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris for her URBINO dinner service. The tureen is a good for the design's multi-functionality: The lid, when turned upside-down, can also be used as a bowl. As a modern classic URBINO is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. It is still one of KPM's best-selling products.
  • The ARKADIA tea set was created in 1938 on the occasion of KPM's 175th anniversary. Trude Petri, who had already designed the URBINO table service, created neo-classicist shapes in the style of New Objectivity. Siegmund Schütz took his inspiration for elaborate medallions from Greek mythology. The ARKADIA design also was basis for the development of FELDBLUME (1940) with a relief of wild flowers by Gerhard Gollwitzer and the plain-style URANIA (1990).
  • In 1996 KPM launched the “iF Design Award” winning BERLIN service, which was created in collaboration with the Italian designer Enzo Mari. Due to the convex rims the plates and bowls of the multi-functional service appear like a blossoming flower when stacked.

Sculptural porcelain[edit]

Under the auspices of the KPM workshop, porcelain figurines of many different styles have been created in the last 250 years. One of the highlights is the Prinzessinengruppe (Two Princesses), a statue based on the design by Johann Gottfried Schadow. It was created in 1795 for a double royal wedding, and is considered to be a major work of early Classicism. Animal sculptures have played a significant role throughout the history of KPM. The Berlin manufactory's works artfully illustrate nature. A clever play of light and shade, and naturalistic decoration make them appear lifelike. The numerous animal figurines continue to include designs from the manufactory's early days up to the present day.


Great artists and designers of all style periods – from Rococo to Modernism – have created high-quality vase designs for the manufactory. Many of them have become timeless design classics. Around 1820, several classicist vases were designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel like Trompetenform (trumpet shape) or Fidibus.

The Halle vases made in 1931 in collaboration with Burg Giebichenstein Art School are true to the ideal of Bauhaus. Inspired by basic geometric shapes like ellipse and cone ceramic artist Friedlaender created seven harmoniously proportioned vases. The clear form of the square-shaped CADRE vase reflects one of the main requirements of the New Objectivity style that form should follow function. The 1967 design by Trude Petri is based on the tea caddy she created in 1930 for the URBINO service.


See also[edit]


  1. ^MitarbeiterArchived 2013-10-20 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^Battie, 99
  3. ^Battie, 99
  4. ^Battie, 99
  5. ^Battie, 99
  6. ^Battie, 100
  7. ^Battie, 100, 153-154
  8. ^Battie, 154
  9. ^Battie, 154


  • Battie, David, ed., Sotheby's Concise Encyclopedia of Porcelain, 1990, Conran Octopus, ISBN 1850292515

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°30′54″N13°20′00″E / 52.51500°N 13.33333°E / 52.51500; 13.33333

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Wilhelm Caspar Wegely was in 1751 granted by King of Prussia an exclusive privilage to set up a porcelain manufactory. Customs duties were waived for the new entity on the materials needed for the production process. Wegely was also granted a building for his manufacture. First Wegely's products were marked W. In 1757 King of Prussia Frederick II the Great withdrew his patronage and Wegely decided not to continue production.

In 1761 Johann Ernst Gotzowsky acquired the porcelain formula as well as raw materials and molds. He started the Berlin factory, which he sold to the king of Prussia Frederick II in 1763. The factory got a new name the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (Royal Porcelain Manufactory). The royal factory used a king's emblem, the cobalt-blue sceptre.

Frederick II used the KPM porcelain as a diplomatic gift. Porcelaine commissioned by him was given to numerous European rulers.

In 1797 KPM was the first manufacture in the country to acquire a steam engine. In the 1807 - 1808 period Napoleon occupied Berlin and seized the company's stock. The porcelain was auctioned in Warsaw and Breslau.

In 1918 the monarchy ended. As the result the company was renamed to Staatliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (State Porcelain Manufactory).  

in 1943 in one of Allied air raids KPM buildings were destroyed. The factory was rebuilt and reopened soon after WWII.

KPM Berlin mark


KPM Berlin scepter mark used from 1870 onwards

Scepter mark


Staatliche Porzellan Manufaktur 1993 - 1999 mark

Green decoration mark


Green KPM decoration mark used in the 1913 - 1992 period

KPM red mark


KPM 1832 - 1892 red decoration mark

Dot scepter mark


KPM Berlin 1981 mark with a dot above the scepter

KPM Berlin mark


KPM Berlin 1945 - 1962 mark on items produced in Berlin

KPM impressed mark


KPM impressed mark usewd from 1825

KPM mark


KPM scepter 2000 - 2006 mark

KPM eagle mark


Koenigliche Porzellan Manufaktur eagle 1847 - 1849 mark

KPM mark


1820s - 1830s KPM Berlin scepter mark

Dot scepter mark


1982 KPM Berlin mark with a dot on the left side


Contemporary decoration mark


Contemporary red decoration KPM Berlin mark used from 1993

1980 mark


1980 KPM Berlin mark with a dot below the scepter

KPM decoration mark


Red KPM Berlin decoration mark used till 1992

1820s mark


1820s - 1830s KPM Berlin mark

KPM mark


1837 - 1844 KPM scepter mark

Black cross mark


Black cross KPM Berlin 1914 - 1919 mark

Anniversary mark


150th anniversary KPM Berlin mark

Scepter mark


KPM scepter mark used from 2007 onwards

KPM mark


KPM Berlin 1780 - 1800 mark



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How to Shop for KPM Porcelain - by Dale Smith

KPM Porcelain

Authentic, look-alike and confusing marks

The letters KPM can trace their ancestry back to 1763 when they were first used by the Konigliche Porzellan Manufacktur (Royal Porcelain Manufactory) in Meissen. By 1825, the same letters were beginning to be used by the Royal Porcelain Manufactory in Berlin. There have been fakes and look-alike marks almost since the start of original production.

This article discusses KPM marks used after 1825 and will focus on pieces from the mid-1800s through WWI, about 1917. Typical production pieces of this period sell between $300-$5000. The highly sought plaques of this period range from $1,000 to $10,000 and up depending on size, subject and artist.

Buyers interested in KPM face two problems: 1–separating forgeries and look-alike marks on genuinely old porcelain made at other factories and; 2–new porcelain with deliberately confusing fantasy marks which imitate original vintage marks.

Authentic marks

In addition to the familiar letters KPM, authentic 1815-1917 marks of Konigliche Porzellan Manufacktur also include one of three other symbols: an eagle, a scepter or an orb with a cross. A scepter almost always appears with the eagle and orb marks but may also appear with the letters KPM only. Colors vary but are usually red, brown or blue. All letters and the eagle and orb marks are inkstamped. Scepters are usually hand painted. The only exceptions are marks on plaques. Marks on most plaques are impressed, the most common mark being an impressed scepter and the impressed letters, KPM.

Pre-1925 marks

Competing factories have used marks nearly identical to Konigliche Porzellan Manufacktur marks since the 19th century. The letters alone–K, P, M–did not qualify for legal protection under German law. Factories in Thuringia, Silesia and elsewhere were quick to use this legal loophole to stamp their own KPM look-alike marks on their lower priced and less skillfully made copies and imitations.

Typical look-alike pre-1925 marks include the letters KPM in combination with a close, but not exact, copy of the second symbol. For example, there are several KPM marks with various crowns that do not include orbs. The other common technique is to substitute a different letter of roughly similar appearance for an original letter. The original letter K, for example, is replaced by the letter R in several marks producing RPM. Another confusing version has a burning torch rather than a scepter above the letters KPM.

Such small deceptions often sound too obvious to be taken seriously when described in print. But with a little dirt or staining or deliberate scratching, it can often be difficult to detect letter substitutions without a careful inspection. Some genuinely old items with these kinds of look-alike marks are collected in their own right but they are rarely worth more than a small percentage genuine Konigliche Porzellan Manufacktur items.

Marks after 1925

The letters KPM probably appear in more marks used after 1925 than in marks before 1925. By the 1950s, KPM was used to imply a sense of quality, prestige and age rather than any specific company. Many of the new KPM marks shown belwo also include place names such as Bavaria and Germany which do not appear in early marks. Since the original mark was never registered, it is legal today for reproduction wholesalers to continue using the letters KPM on new pieces imported from China, Japan and Indonesia.


Fig. 1 This transfer decorated porcelain plaque was sold by a reproduction wholesaler ca. 1960-1970s. It is stamped with a look-alike KPM mark.


Fig. 2 Original pieces by Koniggliche Porzellan Manufaktur like this plaque are marked with only a very limited number of symbols.


Fig. 3


Fig. 4

Figs. 3-4 Most all reproductions are transfer (decal) decorated. A pattern of tiny dots will appear in the printed decals.


Fig. 5


Fig. 6

Figs. 5-6 Original KPM is hand painted (Figs. 5-6) and will include fine brush strokes in the paint. High quality originals will show a variety of brush strokes from wide to thin.

Confusing pre-1925 marks


Kristef Porcelain, ca. 1885


Kristef Porcelain, ca. 1885


Kristef Porcelain, ca. 1900


Kristef Porcelain, ca. 1903


Kranichfield Porcelain, ca. 1903

Confusing marks - after 1925


Kerafina, since 1950


Kerafina, ca. 1950-1958


Krautzberger, Mayer and Purkert, ca. 1945


Krister Porcelain, since 1952


On ca. 1960-70s reproductions


Krister Porcelain Manufactory, ca. 1927

Authentic marks 1840-1917

Generally, in addition to the letters KPM, most authentic marks (for pieces made after 1825) also include an eagle, a scepter or an orb with a cross. Unless one of those additional symbols appear with the letters, the mark is not authentic Konigliche Porzellan Manufaktur.


Mark #1 Stamped eagle with painted scepter.

Line drawing of the Prussian eagle with letters KPM, above left. The letter(s) F or FR may appear in the eagle's breast. The eagle and letters are ink stamped and usually red, brown or blue. The scepter almost always accompanies the KPM and eagle mark and is usually painted when appearing with this mark.


Mark # 2 Impressed scepter mark.

When appearing with the eagle or orb, the scepter is usually painted. Scepter marks on plaques, though, are almost always impressed, not painted or ink stamped.


Mark #3 Orb and cross ink-stamped mark.

Usually stamped in red, brown or blue. Usually, but not always, includes a painted scepter. Scepters may appear at varying distances and positions around marks, not not only directly above or below.


Ceramics kpm


KPM Berlin International Edtion 2017 (Chinese Subtitles)


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