This piece is part of a set of Royal Copenhagen porcelain of meaningful provenance.
It once belonged to a fellow diplomat’s grandmother, an intrepid world traveler who died in Tanzania when my friend was eight years old. As an adult my friend lived in Denmark for four years and speaks fluent Danish. This gorgeous set met its tragic fate during one of her many, many moves. She saved a box full of shards, because shattered or not, the pieces meant too much to discard.
I won’t front, this casualty of the peripatetic diplomatic lifestyle is a challenge. After hours spent sorting and matching pieces, it became clear that I would need to reconstitute missing chunks and shards. It has taken many, many months of experimentation to figure out the right combination of materials to reconstruct Royal Copenhagen’s delicate porcelain, without subjecting these delicate pieces to a kiln. The wet Mid Atlantic springs and swampy summers have not helped. Hours spent carefully putting things together evaporate with the humidity and I spend a lot of time mumbling under my breathe.
This set is the factory's pattern No. 1, still in production. It is called "Musselmalet" - "mussel-painted", or "blue fluted" in English-speaking countries. The "mussel blue" is cobalt. In 1772 a fertile vein of cobalt was discovered in Norway, then part of the Kingdom of Denmark. The cobalt was ground to a fine dust for ceramic glazes and glass manufacture in Blaafarveværket. In the early 19th century cobalt was one of the greatest source of wealth for Norway.
This piece is amongst the first I could restore within the set. My eventual goal is to give her as many pieces as I can, so she can pass them down to future generations. At least one sample of the bowls, plates, lids, cups, and saucers, I hope?