Amphora porcelain was produced by the Amphora Porcelain Works in Bohemia/Czechoslovakia from 1892-1945.
Background and Description
The Amphora porcelain works existed from 1892-1945 in the Teplitz-Turn area of Bohemia, part of Austro-Hungary, but since World War I in Trnovany in the Czech Republic.
It was founded by Riessner, Stellmacher & Kessel. Stellmacher left in 1905, and Kessel left in 1910. As the partners changed, the company became known by different names, but the pieces were always called Amphora porcelain. The company was nationalised by the Czech government in 1945.
In their half a century of production, Amphora became known as a fine art pottery manufacturer. They produced innovative designs and shapes with a high level of detail, and were considered by many to exemplify the Art Nouveau style.
The work was displayed at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and thus attracted the attention of the American public, and again achieved honours at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904.
The company did have various designers, many of them graduates from the Imperial Technical School for Cermaics and Associated Applied Arts.
As a result of numerous designers, pieces were produced in a seleciton of styles, shapes, and sizes. The designs were generally influenced by Art Nouveau and Jugensdtil, as well as Grueby and Rookwood.
Collecting Amphora Czechoslovakian pottery
Amphora porcelain works pottery has a great following.
Amphora designs began with a drawing or watercolour indicating how the finished piece should look. Once the design was approved, it was given a style number. This will be imprinted on the bottom of the piece.
Some collectors may choose to focus on one specific Amphora designer. A number of the more illustrious ones added their own signature to the maker’s mark. Paul Dachsel was one of their early designers. He left in 1905 and became a popular pottery maker in his own right. His Amphora pieces will have an additional ‘PD’ marked on them.
From 1892-1905 the mark reflected the three owners, reading ‘RStK’.
Eduard Stellmacher left in 1905, so from 1905-1910 the mark stated ‘RK’ and the company was named Amphora Factory Riessner & Kessel.
After Kessel left in 1910, the factory name was Amphora Works Riessner, until its dissolution in 1945.
In 1896, Amphora were made court supplier to the Imperial court in Vienna, so could use both the name ‘Imperial Amphora’, and the Austo-Hungarian eagle for their trademark.
There were several different marks used by Amphora in their chequered history, so if a mark does not match another, it does not necessarily mean the piece is an imitation.
Pre-World War I pieces will be marked ‘Austria’, as Bohemia was then part of Austro-Hungary. Post-WWI pieces will be marked ‘Czechoslovakia’.
There were copycat ‘Amphora’ manufacturers from the same Turn-Teplitz region, as well as elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
Value generally depends on the size of an Amphora piece, as well as the quality and attractiveness of the design.
Pieces have sold on eBay for $20-100.
However some rarer pieces have fetch up to $6,000 at auction.