Design & Decoration S01 ep10: Egbert von Maltzahn, Nymphebourg Porcelain, [Munich]
Interview with Egbert von Maltzahn
We were founded by the Prince elect of Bavaria, the house of the Royal Bavarian family. We have this tradition of working and producing for 254 years without interruption, the porcelain of all the periods starting with the Rococo Period, the classicism period to the Art Nouveau.
KM – What is Porcelain Nymphberg?
Let us say one of the most beautiful porcelains in the world. The main thing
that we are real manufacturing, that means that we are doing every single
piece 100% by hand.
We were founded by the Prince elect of Bavaria, the house of the Royal
Bavarian family. We have this tradition of working and producing for 254 years
without interruption, the porcelain of all the periods starting with the Rococo
Period, the classicism period to the Art Nouveau.
It was 1747, and the idea was to make gold, not to find it somewhere but to
make it. August the Strong, what is his name, the Prince elect of Saxonia then
Driessen and then Meissen he hired this guy called Botgarte, and Botgarte did
not succeed in finding gold but he succeeding in finding porcelain.
KM – So he found the Kaolin?
Kaolin, felspar and quartz - he was just experimenting. The first things were
just really terracotta and then he succeeded in really finding the way to make
The secret of making porcelain was invented in Europe. Meissen was founded
in 1710, the first porcelain producer in Europe and of course you could make a
lot of money out of it, because the imports from China were very expensive.
The Saxonians succeeded in doing it so the Bavarians also wanted to do it. Of
course any prince elect wanted to have his porcelain manufactory, and this is
why we are located on this fantastic surroundings just opposite the Nymphberg
The finishing of the Monarchy which was in 1918, the manufacturing at that
time was leased to a family called Boyman. A very entrepreneurial family and
this was the first Boyman leased factory in 1888 and at that time the
manufacturing was not doing very well. They were doing a lot of technical
porcelain and he very much succeeded going back to the artistic program.
Then he hired fantastic artists, we have fantastic Art Nouveau period in the
turn of the century, we have the best artist for animal structures, and then to
come to more modern period. In the 20's we worked together with a fantastic
industrial designer, called Mr. Fonverzeine and he did the most beautiful
pieces, very Bauhaus like very modern, and some other artists, very good
Since I have been here we are working with for instance with people like
Murray Moss. Moss is the most important design store in the world; he is
located in New York and Soho. He did a fantastic exhibition especially on the
Rococo period and on the modern, and then O.K. now to come to more
modern, to the recent time I started to work again with contemporary designers
and I chose for the first period - three designers. One of those was Ted
Muehling from New York and he made a beautiful collection, we were very
successful with it. And Konstantin Grcic, one of the most industrial designers in
Germany and Borg Sperring who is a well known sculpture ceramic in London.
KM – What is the difference between your Porcelain and Limoge and English
Most of the others they buy the finished pots it is done, it is totally done, they
just put it on the machine and make the piece.
KM – Ah, O.K.
And we, we do our Nymphberg porcelain mass so we get the Kaolin, we get
the felspar we the quartz, we have our own recipe. We stock the porcelain
mass for two years.
KM – Why do you have to store it for two years, what does it do?
The porcelain mass has some chemical physical process that gives it a very,
very nice quality for the handwork. We are talking for the handwork. I don't
need the porcelain mass for the machine that is what the others do. We do
KM – So you have to actually wait for 2 years before you can actually take it
and start working with it.
Yes, and then the next step is plates or cups, they are done by hand. You see
the difference right away. Just take a cup made from Nymphberg Porcelain
hold it in your hand. It is very, very translucent, very fine, thin porcelain and
this you can only reach by doing it by hand.
The Ted Muehling collection is so unique.
KM – How did you find this guy, why did you pick him?
It was a little coincidence, but I mean the first track went to the friend of Ted
Muehling, who we invited to come here. He is a very famous illustrator for
KM – In America.
He lives in America but he is Swedish and his name is Max Gustafson and we
invited him and Ted Muehling accompanied him. Ted Muehling saw the
manufacturing and totally fell in love with the manufacturing. Ted Muehling is
doing now since 20 years, jewellery, he is very successful in New York and he
is just a perfectionist, and he is a great aesthetic and he loves great, great
KM – What have you bespoken so far?
Yeah, for instance, the last thing we did is a fantastic yacht, which was built in
Bremen. We made the Spirit of Ecstasy of Rolls Royce out of Nymphberg
KM – Really?
Yes, we had the presentation of the new Rolls Royce, the Silver something
R.R. here in the manufactory.
KM – Do you have collectors who actually collect some of this stuff.
KM – Do they come every year on a Pilgrimage to Nymphberg?
Yes, this is the perfect thing for instance to collect the comedie della art. Each
year you buy one piece.
KM : How much is a piece?
It starts at about 2,500 US Dollars, it goes up to, and the most beautiful piece
goes up to 20,000 US Dollars.
KM – You’re kidding, that size?
KM – Must be a lot of work.
Yes a lot of work
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Egbert von Maltzahn, Nymphebourg Porcelain, Munich