Antiques Column: Porcelain factory’s interesting past

Lot 104 - A pair of Royal Dux figurines - �170.
Lot 104 - A pair of Royal Dux figurines - �170.

Recently, when taking off on a flight to Austria, I calmed my nerves by not dwelling on the strange noises the plane was making and wishing we’d gone to Scarborough, but on the wonderful Austrian Royal Dux porcelain factory and it’s chequered history.

In 1853, in the town of Duchov, a factory was founded, and the story of Royal Dux began.

After several years of producing utility ceramics the factory was bought by Eduard Eichler and in turn became E Eichler Thonwaren Fabrik.

Success followed on with the production of terracotta, faience and majolica items, winning a Silver award at the 1878 Paris Exhibition.

A pink triangle became the trademark in 1900. The raised triangle has an acorn in the centre. In all genuine factory-applied raised pink triangles, regardless of age, is the inscription “Royal Dux Bohemia.” That lettering appears around the oval shape or ‘acorn’ in the centre of the triangle. A grid-like pattern is at the top. Even though the country of Bohemia disappeared at the end of WWI, Royal Dux Bohemia remains in the mark to this day.

The Art Nouveau and the Vienna Secession were probably the most successful periods for Royal Dux production.

The company won awards in exhibitions in Milan, Liberec and St.Louis, having representatives and showrooms all over Europe.

The Art Nouveau production is the most collected period. Pieces from this period are very recognisable with their fleshy colourings and attention to facial detail.

Classically modelled maidens abound, along with shell shaped vases and bowls, elephants, dogs andArab figures on camels and horses.

The World Wars affected production, output ceased in the first war and in the second, the German government took over. After the war it was taken over by the new communist government of Czechoslovakia, but today has become privately owned.