Since prehistoric times, humans have crafted small-scale representations of humans, gods and animals, also known as figurines. One of the most famous early figurines is the Venus de Willendorf, a female statuette dated to around 28,000-25,000 BC. Like with many other art forms, the techniques used for figurine production were advanced by the Ancient Greeks and Romans, with both cultures manufacturing terracotta and bronze figurines of deities for religious purposes. From the 18th century onwards, intricately-detailed figurines were produced by porcelain factories across Europe, including notable manufacturers Meissen, Sèvres and Capodimonte. One of the most popular subjects for European porcelain figurines was the depiction of finely-dressed men and women engaging in charming, idle activity. Animal figurines were also common during this period, with realistic representations as well as playful versions of animals performing human activities in dress available on today's collectors' market.
For four decades, the studios in Schwarzburg produced high-quality figurative porcelain that mirrored the different artistic currents of the first half of the 20th century. Here is their story.