Kiln

In the production of high-quality Nymphenburg porcelain, the process of firing is at least just as important as the balanced composition of the basic materials. Following the initial mild firing, the raw porcelain items are hardened at 950°C. Then, a thin layer of glaze is applied by hand and the item is subsequently fired again at temperatures of up to 1,400°C during a process that may last up to 36 hours. The glaze fuses with the porcelain during this process, which is called glost firing. The result is the pure white, particularly smooth and hard finish for which Nymphenburg porcelain is known. Only when the mixture of the paste and the firing methods have been coordinated perfectly with each other, is it possible to achieve the porcelain's desired purity, translucence and brilliance in the glaze. The porcelain shrinks by around one sixth during firing. That's why the original patterns are so important: this shrinkage means that a new model cannot be made from a piece of porcelain that has been fired – each mould would produce an end result that would again be 17% smaller. After it has been painted, the porcelain is fired for the last time. The glaze fuses with the paint during this firing, the colour firing, which is effected in stages at temperatures ranging from 1,300 to 760°C. The colours change greatly during this process. And so great demands are placed on the painters who must be fully versed in how the colours must be mixed and applied and how they develop during firing. Five colour firings are required for Nymphenburg's Belle Epoque service, premiered at the 1900 world exhibition, to make the artistic on-glaze painting blossom.

Processes

The Nymphenburg Movie

A unique visual tour through the Nymphenburg ateliers.

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Water power

Even today, all mechanical equipment at the listed and protected buildings of Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg is powered by the water which runs from the estate's stream – just as it was in the 18th century.

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Paste mill

The production of the correct mix of kaolin, feldspar and quartz is an art that Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg has refined over its 260 years.

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Turning shop

All round parts – plates, bowls, vases – are made by hand on potter's wheels and, not as in other companies, on roller machines.

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Model shop

The model shop lies at the heart of Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg. This is where the plaster moulds for casting and drying all porcelain parts that are not round are made.

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Model & mould archive

More than 30,000 shapes are stored at Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg's model and mould archive.

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Moulding shop

All pieces that cannot be shaped on the potter's wheel are cast by hand. To this end, the so-called "slip", the liquefied porcelain paste, is filled in plaster moulds, which may be used up to 15 times.

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Luting shop

Many figures and objects by Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg that are made up of many parts are given their final shape at the luting shop.

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Paint laboratory

Nymphenburg's paints are famous for their brilliance, purity and rich variety of shades.

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Kiln

In the production of high-quality Nymphenburg porcelain, the process of firing is at least just as important as the balanced composition of the basic materials.

Processes

Painting

The designs are Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg's signature. Hardly any other manufactory has such a wealth of motifs and opulence in its range.

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Underglaze painting

The technique is still employed to the highest perfection by Nymphenburg's masters to decorate many animal sculptures and figures.

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Gilding

The gilded areas and platinum ornamentations are dull and lacklustre when they leave the kiln and so must subsequently be buffed up with the help of agate and haematite.

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Majolica

Nymphenburg majolica is unique in the world. Nymphenburg has been producing majolica figures and tiles by hand using traditional methods for around 160 years.