Porcelain Collection, Dresden

One of Dresden’s main claims to fame is that Meissner stoneware and porcelain was invented here — so a visit to the porcelain collection in the Zwinger complex was at the top of our list of things to do.

Entrance costs €6 unless you have a two-day Dresden-Card like we did; you can also get a combined ticket for €10 that gives you access to this and the other two museums in the Zwinger.

Oddly, the ticket office and lockers are located on an upper floor, from where you can access the two wings of the exhibition. Before descending, though, we headed out onto a raised terrace, from where we could see the porcelain glockenspiel play a piece from Vivaldi — quite a nice start to the visit, I thought.

Downstairs in the first gallery, we were introduced to some of the many thousands of porcelain items that had been collected by Augustus the Strong. From large jars to small dishes, they all came from China or Japan and were well-displayed throughout the room. Unfortunately, I had absolutely no interest at all in them — unlike Augustus’s 17th-century subjects and courtiers, porcelain isn’t an exotic item for me, and although I could appreciate the delicacy of form and painting, it was all a bit, well, boring.

The Zwinger.
The Zwinger.
Across in the other gallery, things started to get a little more interesting. An upstairs room showcased early Meissen stoneware and told the story of how the dark-red stoneware and bright-white porcelain were invented and produced. Downstairs, we saw many examples of Meissen work, including a great display of animal figures — which were a lot more interesting than Japanese plates.

I thought it was a pity that the process of making porcelain wasn’t explained, that it really was just a display of objects and figures. If you’re interested in porcelain, then by all means visit the Porcelain Collection; otherwise I’d give it a miss.

[box]The Porcelain Collection costs €6, or for €10 you get access to the three Zwinger museums. Entrance is included with Dresden-Cards that are valid for two or more days. [/box]

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