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Porcelain production was a closely guarded Chinese secret, but Johann Friedrich Böttger (1682-1719) experimented with different deposits of white clay – found on hills or riverbanks – until he discovered a source containing kaolin, the key ingredient of porcelain.

Recording the earliest European recipe in 1708, Böttger’s first successful white porcelain pieces were modeled on Chinese blanc de Chine originals in form and decoration. Böttger presented his finding to the King in 1709, and one year later the first European factory – the Royal Porcelain Manufactory – was established.

This beaker (drinking cup) is almost identical to the 17th century Chinese beaker from The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (Gift of Ira and Nancy Koger, SN11122.140) pictured in the detail.