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When alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger (1682-1719) claimed he could turn metal into gold, he was imprisoned by Augustus the Strong (reg. 1694-1733), Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, in a laboratory in the castle town of Meissen, Germany. Failing at metallurgy and desperate to save his life, Böttger guaranteed Augustus that he could fabricate fine porcelain, something the porcelain-crazed Augustus – his collection numbered in the tens of thousands – could not ignore.
These red stoneware pieces were Böttger’s first attempts at exposing the secret formula for high-fire white ware. Created in molds, the vessels contained fanciful elements modeled on Chinese decoration and were called Böttger stoneware or Böttgerware.