The Royal Porcelain Factory in Copenhagen was established in 1775 by the chemist, Frantz Heinrich Müller, under the patronage of Queen Juliane Marie, widow of King Frederik V of Denmark.
The ‘Flora Danica’ service is perhaps the most famous amongst the factory’s production. The original service was intended for Catherine the Great of Russia (1729-1796), though she died during the production of the 1,802 pieces. The completed service was eventually delivered to the Danish Royal family, twelve years later. Every piece was decorated by Johann Christoph Bayer with a botanical specimen based on copper plates from the encyclopaedia ‘Flora Danica’, which was supposed to record every plant in Denmark. This extraordinary task resulted in Bayer losing his sight, such was the skill and detail required. Today the surviving service is exhibited at Rosenborg Castle, Christiansborg Castle, and Amalienborg Palace in Denmark.
The ‘Flora Danica’ pattern was taken up again in 1863 for a service made to celebrate the marriage of Princess Alexandra of Denmark to the future King Edward VII of England and it was so much admired that it is still in production today. Most of the pieces included in the present service date to the late 19th century revival period, with some dating to the 20th century, all acquired directly from the factory by a member of the Danish Royal Family.