Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica

Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica

Flora Danica is probably the world's most expensive china pattern, at $6,500 a place setting. It is entirely hand painted. Artists draw from a collection of over 1,000 floral illustrations to grace each plate, so every service will be completely unique, with a different flower on each plate. The story behind the Flora Danica service reads like a historical romance novel. It is said that is was commissioned by the Danish King, Christian VII, who wanted a porcelain service so beautiful and rare that it would gain a place among the Russian Empress Catherine II’s large porcelain collection. But then the Empress died in 1796 before the great work was finished. The service therefore remained with the Royal Danish Household and today belongs to H.M. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. The service’s name and decorations stem from the botanical work Flora Danica whose 51 volumes and total of 3.060 coloured copper prints were issued in the period 1761-1883. The wide-ranging work reproduced in minute detail the Danish flora. The great task of transcribing the decorations to the porcelain became the life’s work of one man – Johann Christoph Bayer. He undertook the majority of the painting of the 1,802 pieces. A task which took him 12 years. The copper prints were carefully copied onto the porcelain and if he was in doubt about any detail he sent a messenger to the Botanical Gardens. He would then study the plant to ensure that the reproduction was correct.