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Free-thinking architect Gottfried Semper (1803 –1879) undeniably had a feel for grandeur. He made a great impact on the cityscapes of Dresden, Zurich and Vienna. His work in the former also brought him into contact with the MEISSEN Manufactory. He designed this showcase vase, whose manufacture proved to be a daunting challenge, in 1836. Its considerable size made firing exceedingly difficult, yet the feat was achieved and the spectacular masterpiece was exhibited at the 1851 World Fair in London. The original was unfortunately lost in the War. Luckily, though, Gottfried Semper’s mould sections and plaster models have been preserved in the Manufactory’s 300-year-old stock of moulds. Consulting these archives enabled the Semper Vase to be reconstructed at the MEISSEN Manufactory some years ago, albeit with a great deal of effort. As one of the strictly “Limited MEISSEN® Art Works 2011”, it portrays the famous “Canaletto view” of the Dresden roofcape. Our gaze is drawn over Augustus Bridge to the “Balcony of Europe”, as 19th-century travellers enthusiastically called it: we recognise Brühl Terrace, the Residential Palace of Augustus the Strong, the mighty Church of Our Lady and the sleeker Catholic Cathedral built by Italian architect Gaetano Chiaveri. Rounding off this unique ensemble is, of course, the Semper Opera House, painted with great aplomb on the back of the vase. Formal perfection and peerless painting are married to great artistic effect on this porcelain honouring Gottfried Semper, a key contributor to the historic “skyline” of Dresden.