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Sue Marchand: Central European Porcelain Between Mercantilism and the "Free" Market

A Lecture by Suzanne L. Marchand
February 3, 2021 - 4:30pm

This paper tells the tale of two porcelain manufactories, the Imperial Viennese Manufactory (WPM) and the privately owned Thuringian firm, Wallendorf, from which sprang several 19th-century market leaders (C. M. and Lorenz Hutschenreuther).  While their founding dates are separated by nearly a half-century (WPM, 1718; Wallendorf, 1764), both of these manufactories passed through a crucial period in the 1780s in which enlightened absolutist economic policies began to move away from mercantilism towards a freer, more competitive, market for luxury goods.  By juxtaposing the fate of these firms between 1770 and 1840, the paper describes the collapsing of older forms of princely financing and artisanal production in the face of expanding competition and innovations in chemistry and labor-saving devices. It concludes with a discussion of the rapidly changing marketplace for luxury goods, in which princely penury and non-aristocratic demand for pipes, coffee cups, and dolls began to orient the industry to a new class of consumers.Presented by the Center for Austrian Studies and the Center for German & European Studies.