Bavaria was the center of Germany's pottery industry, comparable to Limoges in France and Staffordshire in England. Often work produced in this region is simply marked "Bavaria," but sometimes there are other marks that can be decoded to identify a company.
Bavaria is the southernmost state in Germany, and is the oldest. It has a distinct culture all its own that is quite different from the rest of the country. Bavaria has always been a crossroads of trade to the Mediterranean and southeast Europe.
There were several potteries operating in this area, many of which were very small or were not in business very long. Therefore, it can be difficult to identify specific companies.
Bavarian china is well known for its fine quality and intricate floral designs. In addition to fancy tableware like teacups and teapots, Bavarian china is also seen in toilet and sets, containing dresser trays, hair receivers, and hand mirrors.
Like most antique chinaware, Bavarian china is fine and delicate and should be handled with care. If the decoration is applied over the glaze, be especially careful when handling or cleaning it.
One company that used a Bavaria mark was Rosenthal. In 1884, Phillip Rosenthal started a business by purchasing whiteware and selling designs door to door that his wife Maria handpainted. In 1891 he established his own factory, and the company began marking their ware with the full name "Rosenthal" in 1907. In 1931 Walt Disney granted them permission to produce six Mickey Mouse figurines.
Over the years, the company acquired several other factories. By the outbreak of World War II, Rosenthal operated 10 different companies and employed 5000 people. After the war, Rosenthal's son Phillip modernized out of date factories and helped the business get up and running again.
Next week will feature Irish Beleek from Ireland, and Nippon and Noritake from Japan. This will be the last in our series exploring the world’s china manufacturers!