Porcelain and glass with photography


Discover the world of photo ceramics.


The collection "Porcelain and Glass with Photography" was acquired by the artist, author and photographer Karl-Heinz W. Steckelings. The exhibits he collected, come from different sources and eras, but they were all gathered with the understanding of how important they are for the history of photography. 

Now the Helmut Arenz Kulturstiftung is taking on the responsibility of publishing the collection within the Kulturfabrik, maintaining it and preserving it for posterity.


Matching the former production rooms of the Oscar Schlegelmilch Porcelain Manufactory, we offer you a significant and extensive collection of photo ceramics, on about 500 m² of exhibition space.

In addition, it is our intention to bring the present and following generation closer to the craft development and beauty of photoceramics and to make them aware of how important the individual achievements were for photography as a whole.


A very common and popular use of photo ceramics was post-mortem photography. Portraits were commissioned from a photographer by the surviving family members. 

It was often the only photograph taken of a person, as well as a treasured keepsake for the family. The image of the deceased was then found on tombstones, plates, rings, cups, vases or jewelry boxes.

What is Photo Ceramic?

Photoceramics is the term used to describe the process by which photographs have been burned onto ceramics such as porcelain, glass, enamel and metal. The first experiments were carried out in France by Lafon de Camarsac (1821-1905) starting in 1851. In 1854, he developed the fixation of photographic images on metallic and ceramic materials. Photoceramics itself is based on the chromate dusting process patented by F. Joubert in 1855.


A small insight into our photoceramic collection.

What procedure was used?

The process is based on photographic negatives on dry plates. A positive is produced on a collodion wet plate. This collodion layer must be peeled off when wet. To do this, the edges are lifted with a knife and the thin and delicate collodion skin is rolled onto a glass rod. This skin is unrolled over a bowl of water and rinsed several times.

The thin silver-plated collodion skin is exposed to gold or platinum chloride. Platinum and gold precipitate and silver chloride goes into solution. The image thus becomes richer in contrast. The silver chloride is rinsed out and removed with sodium bicarbonate.

The collodion skin is now placed on the ceramic with the image facing downwards and pressed on neatly. Covered with flux and can then be fired.

Photoceramics were very popular between 1850 and 1900. The wealthy society had many things that were dear to them transferred onto plates, cups, jugs or even pipe bowls. Typical motifs were the lords and ladies of the house, children, but also houses, exotic plants or pets.

Recreated: Wiener Porzellan - Waltraud Neuwirth


linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram