Title: Arcanum, The
Authors: Gleeson, Janet
Genre: Non Fiction
Pages: 266
Year: 1998
Language: English
Description: The 18th-century alchemist, Johann Bottger, was held captive by Augustus II of Saxon until he fortuitously discovered the arcanum (or secret formula) for porcelain. Recently introduced from the Orient, "white gold" was quickly becoming the symbol of power, prestige and good taste in Europe. An investigation into the development of European porcelain and the founding of the Meissen works in Dresden that combines science, adventure and industrial espionage. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups:

Great read. Highly recommended. Lower Hutt 011.

Very informative - who would have thought that European dynasties fought to get the secret recipe? Napier 023.

Every member of the group really enjoyed this book - unprecedented! There was so much to learn wrapped up in an enthralling story. Christchurch 068.

Categories: Non fiction, Historical, Science & Technology, Larger font


[Please log in to write a review]
By: QUEEN 006 2019-06-21 14:37:15
Really interesting historical account. We all feel much more 'au fait' with the subject after reading the book.

By: NAP 007 2019-06-21 14:34:20
Not a favourite - most found it interesting to start with but got bored towards the end.

By: TAUR 015 2019-06-21 14:32:56
An interesting, well researched and quite intriguing story with some quite nasty characters!

By: AUCK 071 2019-06-21 14:31:58
Members were divided on this book; some loved the historical detail and facts about porcelain production. Others had problems with the German names, and found the book too detailed about the manufacture and people involved. Those of us who did enjoy it, appreciated all the research and the clear style - no made up dialogues and speculation on private lives unless necessary.

By: TURA 001 2019-06-21 14:25:37
What a great story! Everyone enjoyed it - so much history and details of life at the time. Thanks!

By: SUTHER 001 2019-06-21 14:24:20
Some members didn't finish the book, but the rest found it very informative and well researched. We enjoyed the writing style.

By: WELL 117 2019-06-21 14:23:06
Members found the book very interesting and well researched. None of the group had known very much, if anything, about the discovery of porcelain making in Europe, and there were only a few with historical perspective on the various states that make up modern Germany. Great discussion and well worth reading.

By: WAIKA 011 2019-06-21 14:19:37
Thoroughly enjoyed by all.

The Book Discussion 
Scheme is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations in Aotearoa New Zealand
BDS is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations