The Quirinale Palace’s collection of porcelains includes single pieces and complete dinner sets manufactured by major European factories of the 18th Century (Meissen, Vincennes and Sèvres, Vienna, Doccia etc.) and 19th Century (Meissen, Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Richard, Ginori, Worcester etc.).
The historical interest of the collection lies in the documents proving their origin in the pre-Unification courts or that they were purchased by the Royal House of Savoy.
Some of the objects in fact originated from the court of Louis XV and were given by the king to his daughter Louise-Elisabeth, Duchess of Parma. Others were purchased directly in Sèvres by the duchess or, after her death in 1759, by her husband Philip of Bourbon, Duke of Parma.
After she was crowned in 1878, Queen Margherita devoted much of her time to transforming the Quirinale Palace from the residence of Popes to the Royal Palace of Italy.
Thus she had much of the china of the pre-Unification courts brought to Rome, including the rare and valuable dinner set in "masso bastardo" that Pietro Leopoldo, Grand Duke of Tuscany, had made in Doccia around 1785.
Many more dinner sets were ordered at the manufactories of Meissen, Berlin and Doccia, with such a large number of pieces that the Ginori dinnerware alone, called “receptions and balls”, still comprises more than 9,000 pieces. The Old China and Silverware collection comprehensively contains 25 dinner sets, of which three from Sèvres (dated 1760 and for the most part 1769) consisting of extremely valuable soft-paste porcelain decorated and signed by the manufactory’s best painters with floral patterns on vert background, bird patterns on bleu-céleste background and with roses et mosaiques patterns.
The Meissen china, dating from the second decade of the factory’s manufacturing activity (European porcelain was precisely discovered in Meissen, in 1710), is of an exceptional quality with some of the pieces bearing the rare KPM mark and painted with chinoiseries by J. G. Heroldt.
The Quirinale Palace’s porcelain collection, which comprehensively contains approximately 38,000 Western pieces, is a proud match for the world’s major porcelain collections.
The collection also includes an important oriental collection (from China and Japan) mostly dating back to the 18th and 19th Centuries and representing a wide range of decorative typologies: many of the objects come from the collection of the Duchy of Parma while a group of large Japanese vases come from the pontifical collections, as certified on the wooden bases bearing papal coat of arms, including six of Pope Clement XIV, born Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli (1769-1774), carved by Giovanni Grespi in 1774.