The Arcanum: Extraordinary True Story Of The Invention Of European Porcelain
The Arcanum: Extraordinary True Story of the Invention of European Porcelain
Imprisoned in a fairy-tale castle and under constant threat of execution by his ruthless captor, an 18th century apothecary struggled to realize the alchemist's dream. His name was Johann Frederick Bottger. But instead of transforming base metal into gold, he was to discover the formula for something even more exotic and elusive, a substance so precious it was known as 'white gold'. And it was a formula for which others were prepared to lie, cheat, steal and even kill to possess. This was the remarkable backdrop to one of the most strange and compelling episodes in European cultural and scientific history; a tale of genius and greed, of demonic cruelty and exquisite beauty, of the best and worst of which man is capable - it is the true story of the invention of European porcelain.
Since the middle ages, Western Europeans have practiced alchemy, a primitive form of chemistry, in the great hope of transforming base metal into gold. In the early 18th century, a second great secret puzzled Western Europe's early scientists: how to make porcelain. Recently arrived from the Orient, porcelain quickly...