To Germany is due the credit of producing in Europe the first impermeable modellings covered with enamels. These, dating back to the XIIIth century, are found in its churches, and indeed in the Museum of Nuremberg are some enamelled blue and white tiles which date between 1150 and 1200, from the Church of St. Peter’s at Rostock. Brongniart erroneously says this impermeable mineral varnish dates only from the XIIIth century, whereas both the ancient Egyptians and Greeks used it. He also says stanniferous enamel was the invention of Lucca della Robbia, when in fact the Egyptians, Arabs, Persians and Greeks all employed it. Its introduction into Italy is easily traced from Persia, but the route of its introduction into Northern Europe is more obscure. It was known and produced in Germany as early as A. D. 1200, and the secret of its production must have come from Persia.
Germany’s influence upon the development of the potteries of Europe was very great. She sent workmen direct into Holland, Flanders, Northern France, England, Denmark, Sweden, and even Portugal ; and in all these countries factories were established by Germans. Even Bernard Palissy received his incentive from Germany.
No city in Europe has played a more essential part in the advancement of the arts than Nuremberg. As early as the year 1300 her artisans had produced little figures in unglazed clay, and stanniferous and plumbeous enamelled ware in 1400, perhaps even prior to this date ; and finally in 1712 the soft paste porcelain. The family of the Hirschvogels, potters, and painters on glass, consisted of five artists; the grandfather who lived from 1471 to, 1553 ; his three sons, Veit, August and Hans, and a grandson Sebald (who died in 1589), the son of Veit. Their work was in the style of the Italian majolicas, but more brilliant in color; their clay came from near Amberg.