Underglaze painting is a genre with a long-standing tradition at MEISSEN. The special technique requires years of experience and the highest precision and is only carried out by specialised underglaze painters. In underglaze painting, the paint is applied to the still porous ceramic before the second firing and before the glaze seals the porcelain. The colour immediately sinks into the absorbent material, making any corrections impossible. The paints used are all based on proprietary recipes specially developed in the manufactory’s own paint laboratory, among them the most famous of all, Meissen’s iconic cobalt blue. The spectrum of colours for underglaze painting is much more limited than that of onglaze paints, as only few pigments can withstand the high temperatures of the second firing. When first applied, the cobalt blue initially appears as a matt green-grey colour. Only after glazing and the subsequent gloss firing at approx. 1,400°C does the pigment attain its characteristic bright blue hue. Thanks to this special painting technique, the artwork remains protected under the glaze, making all Meissen underglaze porcelain pieces microwaveable as well as dishwasher-safe and stackable.
"The special technique of underglaze painting requires years of experience and the highest precision. At MEISSEN, only specialised porcelain painters can take on this genre."
The history of Meissen’s cobalt blue – which also laid the foundation for the manufactory’s long tradition of blue painting – is directly linked to the development of the "Onion Pattern", the most iconic blue decor in porcelain history. Shortly after the founding of the manufactory in the 18th century, MEISSEN was already striving to find a heat-resistant blue which both emphasised the porcelain’s radiant white while harmonising with it. After a long series of tests, the combination of cobalt and oxygen proved to be extremely resistant. A discovery which in 1739 led to the creation of the world-famous "Onion Pattern". A success story that now includes patterns such as the modern reinterpretation of the "Onion Pattern", the "Noble Blue" series, the delicate "Blue Orchid" or the new "Meissen Blue Treasures".