The Berlin Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur, known as KPM, was founded in the first half of the 18th century and, after financial difficulties, was taken over by Frederik the Great in 1763. Royal participation in the factory continued with particular interest being shown by Frederik Wilhelm III (1777-1840) whose royal patronage, together with growing demand from an increasingly wealthy middle class, provided it with a solid base in the early 19th century. The production of decorated porcelain plaques had already begun in the latter part of the 18th century, but was to flourish from the 1840s onwards. From about 1810, many well-known artists, trained at the Berlin Academy, were employed to copy old masters as well as produce original works for transferral porcelain. At first, this decoration was chiefly applied to decorative vases and display cups, but it was soon realized that a porcelain plaque could be used just like a canvas, while exploiting the luminosity of the porcelain body, and from the mid-1840s, KPM manufactured and sold increasing quantities.