The Dutchman Claude Innocentius du Paquier, a minor court official in Vienna, decided after some experimenting that he wanted to open a porcelain factory of his own. He however, needed som help in this and was successful in enlisting the enamel decorator Christoph Hunger and two more important employees from the rivaling Meissen, including a kilnmaster, who knew the exact combination of ingredients needed to make porcelain. Ok, clay + clay, big deal, but at that time this was valuable knowledge.
In May 25, 1718, Emperor Karl VI of Austria signed a "special privilege" awarding Claudius Innocentius du Paquier the exclusive right to produce All sorts of fine porcelain...such as are made in East India and other foreign countries, with far more beautiful colors, decoration, and forms with the help of local workmen and materials in the Austrian crown lands.
In 1719, only eight years after the "white gold" had been "invented" by Johann Friedrich Böttger, du Paquier opened his manufactory. The place was today's Porzellangasse in Vienna's 9th district. The Vienna Porcelain Manufactory was thus the second hard-paste porcelain factory in Europe. For nearly twenty-five years Du Paquier remained the single European rival to Meissen.
The factory's wares soon achieved fame for their rich decoration which included European landscapes, hunting scenes, classical mythology, and naturalistic flowers. Its history could be divided into four periods.
The first period is characterized by designs in late baroque style, and is known as the "Du Paquier Period". The production was directed towards the use of the imperial household and the court nobility. In 1744 the threat of imminent bankruptcy forced Du Paquier to sell the factory to the state, when his imperial privilege expired.
During the rococo era and after the Empress Maria Theresia had placed the private company under imperial ownership, the porcelain of the now "Imperial State Manufactory Vienna" created the famous rococo genre scenes after Watteau.
Under the management of Conrad Sergel von Sorgenthal, the Vienna Porcelain Manufactory achieved an international reputation for its neo-classical style. Unique relief gilt patterns and a quality of painting that remains unexcelled today are the testimonials of this period.
In the beginning of the 19th century porcelain from Vienna got a renewed upswing. Many important personalities of the time, including Czar Alexander I of Russia and the King of Prussia, were guests of the manufactory. The rising middle class of the Biedermeier also appreciated the purity of Viennese porcelain. Almost miniature floral bouquets and scattered flower patterns on a white backround, often combined with simply decorated edges, are typical designs of this period.
As a result of industrialization and rapidly growing competition the Vienna Porcelain Manufactory was closed in 1864, and placed under museum administration.