My level playing field for elephants

editorial image

As part of the decoration of our home we have a rather large, rather heavy, yet very attractive gilded wall bracket. On top of this wall bracket sits a large porcelain elephant.

This weekend my wife chose a new location for bracket and elephant. For her this was easy, for me, as the locating craftsman not quite so easy. Holding the very heavy bracket in its new section of wall I relied on my wife’s eye for level and her pen for the two drill holes.

Needless to say and obviously through no fault of my own our pottery elephant now resides on a hillside rather than a plateau and we are waiting for our son-in-law’s next visit to straighten things out.

Our elephant is from the Royal Dux porcelain factory. In a small town called Duchcov in the Czech Republic, Royal Dux porcelain has been produced since 1853. Despite all the conflict affecting this area of the world the Royal Dux factory has never stopped production. It has survived the Nazi operation and over forty years of communist tyranny.

Royal Dux porcelain has always been popular with collectors because of its distinctive style and huge variety. The company produced many items but it is most famous for its human and animal figurines. From 1900 all Royal Dux carry a trademark in the form of a triangle with the inscription ‘Royal Dux Bohemia Porcelain’ and an acorn.

Before the Nazi invasion in 1938 the company produced over 12,000 different moulds and exported beautiful porcelain all over the world. Unfortunately much of the company’s history has been lost. Despite the fact that the company has remained in the same factory since 1853, many of the company’s old catalogues and sales information has been ‘misplaced’ and the majority of their original designs and existing moulds were destroyed in the fifties.

The fall of the communist government in 1990 brought about many new and painful changes and for a time the future of the company was very uncertain. The company suffered fraud and many company assets also went missing during this period.

Now, however, it is in the hands of private owners who have an agenda to put it back on its feet. At the present some of the remaining moulds that date back to before the Second World War are being brought out of the archives and being revamped for production and new decoration and glazing techniques are being used.