The ‘gold’ so prized by Augustus the Strong and originally from Japan or China was white, delicate, virtually translucent and painted with painstaking care. Painstaking enough, in fact, and from far enough away to be virtually unaffordable. Which is why, in 1701, Augustus set pharmacist’s apprentice and alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger the challenge of producing gold from base metals. Although his quest proved fruitless, the scholar Ehrenfried Walter von Tschirnhaus steered Böttger’s inventive urge towards ‘white gold’, spawning a novel and secretive process that was production-ready by 1709. The venue housing it had to accommodate both works and workforce but remain secure enough to stop anyone entering or leaving without permission. Albrechtsburg Castle in nearby Meissen ticked the box.