Story Of Expensive Hippopotamus Service Set

hippo service setA man was inspired by Royal Copenhagen’s 1880s dinner patterns of ducks, bears or birds. This man had to pay large amount of money to commission an exquisite 144-piece ceramic service set with hippopotami on them. I will tell you the whole story how it happened…

‘In 2003, he met a ceramics scholar for lunch and they wound up talking about Royal Copenhagen’s 1880s dinner patterns, and how they often featured bears, ducks or birds. Mr. Cohen said, “You know, I think I’d like to see a hippo on one of those.”

He scrounged for antique etchings of hippos but eventually decided to go all out and hire photographer Sarah Galbraith to document the names and faces of nearly every hippo in captivity — she ultimately traveled to 101 zoos in 33 countries, including Vietnam, South Africa, Australia and Sri Lanka. (She has chronicled her trips in a blog, “Joined at the Hippo: The story of traveling the world, one hippo at a time.”)

Back home in Oyster Bay, N.Y., Mr. Cohen sifted through 3,000 images and sent his favorites to Royal Copenhagen, which hadn’t received a commission of this scale in at least a century. He asked for the hippos to be painted on the company’s renowned Flora Danica pattern — also found in the collection of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II — with enough teacups and dinner plates to serve a five-course meal for 18. The 231-year-old porcelain company has about 25 artisans who can paint the pattern for regular, five-person place settings (cost: about $6,000). But because of the scale of this commission, the company called in semi-retired master J√É∏rgen Nielsen to do the entire set. (Mr. Cohen says he doesn’t plan to sell the collection, or eat off it.)’

Now you decide was it necessary to make this entire expensive journey for porcelain service set ($400,000). Please hold me I am fainting.


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