Invented in medieval China, porcelain's secret recipe was first reproduced in Europe by an alchemist in the employ of the Saxon king Augustus the Strong. It became an aristocratic ornament, although porcelain also took on banal yet even more important roles in insulator tubes, shell casings, and teeth. Weaving together the experiences of entrepreneurs and artisans, bureaucrats and consumers, Suzanne Marchand traces the remarkable story of "white gold" from its origins as a princely luxury item to its fate in Germany's cataclysmic 20th century, and her history includes 50 illustrations of spectacular tableware, vases, and dolls.
"This is the book on porcelain we have been waiting for. It is a nuanced, scholarly, and passionate account of how porcelain was made, thought of, and consumed in Europe. It is a remarkable achievement."—Edmund de Waal