The Dr. Ulrich and Stella Fritzsche Collection: Slides of Porcelain Tableware from Vincennes and Sèvres

“Porcelain starts elsewhere, takes you elsewhere. Who could not be obsessed? . . . There must be some kinship, I feel, between the first secret of white porcelain, and the promise of fulfilled desire, a kind of Arcadia. . . . Porcelain is a synonym for far away.” —Edmund De Waal (2015, 6–14).


This exhibit showcases the porcelain collection of Dr. Ulrich and Stella Fritzsche, which they assembled for a period of over twenty years, from the 1970s through the 1990s.

Their collection included numerous eighteenth-century porcelain masterpieces created by the Vincennes and Sèvres Porcelain Manufactories. Several of these pieces are now in the Seattle Art Museum collection, while others are in museums and collections around the world. 

The exhibit highlights the history and significance of the objects in the Dr. Ulrich and Stella Fritzsche Collection, covering topics such as color, décor, teacup shapes, biographies of the porcelain painters and gilders, and visual evidence of their porcelain marks.


The exhibit also serves as an entry-point to the digital Fritzsche Porcelain Collection, which now resides on the SAM Library Digital Collections page, and which includes Dr. Fritzsche’s Collector’s Notes, links to the Fritzsche Library on Decorative Arts (books and resources donated by Dr. Fritzsche to SAM Bullitt Library), and 95 digitized slides that serve as a visual documentation of his original collection.

Throughout this exhibit, the viewer will find links to several of these digitized slides, along with essays on the design of the objects represented therein. The purpose is to place this magnificent collection into its broader context, both within the eighteenth century when these objects were made, and within the twentieth century when they were most recently collected.


“As men of China, after an age’s stay,
Do take up porcelain, where they buried clay”
—John Donne, “Elegy on the Lady Markham,” 1609


Credits: Exhibit created by Kirsten Painter         

A Few Highlights from the Fritzsche Porcelain Collection: