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The Meissen factory produced presentation pieces used by diplomats as well as complete table services created for state occasions. Between 1736 and 1741, Modellmeister (head modeler) Johann Kaendler (1706-1775), created the Swan Service, the most elaborate dining service that was made at the Meissen Manufactory, for Count Heinrich von Brühl (1700-1763), prime minister to the Polish king Augustus III (reg. 1733-1763).
The service included over three thousand pieces and provided elaborate table settings for up to one hundred people. Designed to reflect the splendor of the king, the Swan Service contained elaborate figural designs featuring sculptural swans, herons and other acquatic plants and animals as well as the coat of arms of von Brühl.
Von Brühl’s diplomatic presentations achieved their greatest triumphs as objects of prestige throughout Europe. By the middle of the 18th century, firms in Vienna, Sèvres and Berlin were making porcelain, and the age of Meissen exclusivity had ended. Although porcelain of extraordinary quality is produced elsewhere, Meissen porcelain remains synonymous with a standard of excellence that reflects the passion and power of “white gold.”