History timeline

"Den Kongeligt Privilegerede Porcelainsfabrik" (The Royal Chartered Porcelain Manufactory) is founded as a limited company under the patronage of the Queen Dowager Juliane Marie, Crown Prince Frederik and King Christian VII. The factory is set up at St. Kjøbmagergade 50 and takes three wavy lines, symbolising the Great Belt, Little Belt and Øresund, as its trademark.

The factory’s finances are in a wretched state as a result of building up stock instead of selling it. King Christian VII takes over financial responsibility. The factory changes its name to ‘Den Kongelige Danske Porcelains Fabrik’ (The Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory).

The first shop opens in premises located on the first floor of the factory building. When Lord Nelson is in the Danish capital after the Battle of Copenhagen, he buys porcelain costing the equivalent of employing 16 maids for a year.

The factory has a workforce of 128.

Production of the Flora Danica service begins.

G. F. Hetsch becomes artistic consultant. In 1827 he redesigns the shop, which becomes the most stylish in Copenhagen and is heated by means of hot air from flues. The shop holds exhibitions and charges admission, with the proceeds going to the factory’s poor relief fund. On a single Saturday 1,200 tickets are sold for the exhibition of a service for Princess Caroline’s trousseau.

The factory becomes the pride of the nation. The porcelain paste is improved under the direction of chemist C. W. Bergsøe, who previously worked for H.C. Ørsted, while artistic standards are raised by G. F. Hetsch. The porcelain is put on show at the industrial exhibitions of the day.

The factory gets its first shop at street level. The ban on importing porcelain from abroad is lifted and the Constitution of 1849 gives every Danish citizen the right to choose his own occupation – including making porcelain. This means that the Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory loses its privileges.

Bing & Grøndahl is founded in Vesterbro by Grøndahl, a figurine maker from the Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory, and the Bing brothers, who are both art dealers. The factory wins a medal at the International Exhibition in London in 1862.

The Aluminia faience factory is founded in Christianshavn. In 1868 it moves to Frederiksberg. Between 1875 and 1885 it produces 33 million pieces of faience.

The Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory is privatised. It starts producing items from the 18th century and makes a profit. The first female painter is employed and painting in blue gradually becomes women’s work.

The Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory is bought up by Aluminia. In 1884 it is moved to new premises at Aluminia in Frederiksberg. At the same time the shop moves to Amagertorv 10.

A young architect, Arnold Krog, is appointed artistic director to revitalise the Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory. B&G also gets a new artistic director, painter Pietro Krohn.

Krog shows his first Japanese-inspired underglaze porcelain at the Great Nordic Exhibition in Copenhagen, while Krohn shows his Heron service.

Krog’s underglaze is awarded the Grand Prix at the World Fair in Paris. The factory makes its international breakthrough and opens shops in a number of major cities – Paris, New York and London.

Krog is awarded the Grand Prix for his Marguerite service at the World Fair in Paris.

Faience designed for Aluminia in the art nouveau style by Christian Joachim and Harald Slott-Møller is awarded the Grand Prix at the World’s Fair in St. Louis. Aluminia faience subsequently wins many awards.

The Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory’s shop moves to its present address at Amagertorv 6.

Patrick Nordström starts developing stoneware at the Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory.

The two porcelain factories sell their wares in vast quantities during the First World War, when there is a lot of spending power.

The Danish porcelain factories win medals and distinctions at the 1925 Paris Exhibition.

The war makes operations difficult at the porcelain factories owing to shortages of fuel and raw materials. In 1944 Aluminia is destroyed in Nazi reprisals. The war has an impact on production long after the Liberation.

Services and individual pieces are created by artists such as Thorkild Olsen, Axel Salto, Gertrud Vasegaard, Erik Magnussen, Henning Koppel and Grethe Meyer. The style is modern, simple and romantic.

Danish decorative art producers start merging to strengthen their position in the face of international competition. The Royal Danish Porcelain Manufactory buys Georg Jensen Silversmiths and merges with Holmegaard Glassworks under the name Royal Copenhagen A/S. Bing & Grøndahl becomes part of the group in 1987, followed by Hans Hansen Silversmiths in 1991. Then Orrefors Kosta Boda and Boda Nova-Höganäs Ceramics of Sweden are taken over, as is the Venini glassworks in Venice. The businesses continue trading under the combined name of Royal Scandinavia A/S.

Royal Copenhagen celebrates its 225th anniversary by launching a new service, Blue Fluted Mega, the creation of young design student Karen Kjældgård-Larsen, who takes the original Blue Fluted service as her inspiration. Blue Fluted Mega becomes Royal Copenhagen’s top-selling service of recent times.

Georg Jensen and Royal Copenhagen become two independent businesses again, but with the same owners. Royal Copenhagen has been through a period of revitalisation, which has left the business healthy and profitable, as well as giving it the resources to continue producing design classics of the finest craftsmanship.