Antique Limoges China and Porcelain

Even though the word Limoges is synonymous with fine bone china, it was not until the late 18th century that the chief ingredient for porcelain, a mineral called kaolin, was discovered in the nearby town of Saint-Yrieix. In 1771, the brothers Massié and Fourneira Grellet established the first Limoges porcelain factory. It was successful enough that the King of France purchased the plant in 1784 so it could exclusively make white porcelain to be decorated at the royal porcelain factory at Sèvres outside of Paris.

During the 19th century, particularly during the Victorian era, a number of famous porcelain factories established themselves, including Alluaud, Baignol, Gibus et Cie., Pouyat, and Tharaud. French ceramists and businessmen founded the majority of these factories, but it took an American to make Limoges an international household name.

In 1842, a New Yorker named David Haviland built a factory in Limoges that would become the most famous Limoges brand of them all. Haviland china was made in Limoges for the U.S. market, and over the years the various firms that have used the Haviland name produced more than 20,000 patterns of china and dinnerware. In 1880, one of those Haviland patterns led to a commission from the White House, which boosted the firm’s growing reputation.

By the 19th century, Limoges was so popular in Victorian England that so-called Limoges ware was being made in Worcester. But this sort of cross-fertilization was not the mere plagiarism that it might at first seem. Indeed, Limoges factories also borrowed freely from their influencers. In the 19th century, for example, Limoges potteries copied the styles and patterns produced by Japanese and Indian makers; much of this “Oriental” Limoges ware was made for the new U.S. market.

In the Edwardian era, when dainty gilded tea sets were a common Limoges product, a similar homage was paid to Meissen, Sèvres, and Viennese porcelain makers, whose 18th-century vases were routinely produced by Limoges factories for their high-end customers. Some Limoges pieces featured copies of famous paintings by J.M.W. Turner on their sides. Later, in the 20th century, the Japanese porcelain manufacturer Noritake would base many of its designs on those made by companies based in Limoges a century earlier.

One group of Limoges pieces that are more particular to Limoges are the blanks that, in the 1800s, were sent to the U.S. to be decorated by members of amateur china-painting guilds. Painters in these guilds would typically follow the instruction manuals and patterns that came with the unfinished plates and vases. These pieces are not especially collectible today, but many are lovely, which means a handsome collection can be put together rather inexpensively.

Finally there were the Limoges bonbonnières, or small porcelain boxes in which women would keep strong sweets eaten to disguise bad breath. Antique Limoges bonbonnières from the 19th century are quite collectible, and they made a reputation for Limoges firms. That’s probably one reason why in postwar France, just about every gift shop catering to tourists did a respectable business selling novelty Limoges miniatures. Today these dollhouse size porcelain pianos, beds, tables, and chairs make charming collectibles.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

The Bowes Museum: Ceramics

This gallery showcases highlights from the 5,000 items in the museum's ceramics collection dating from 1500-1900. I… [read review or visit site]

Ceramics at The V&A

Ceramics at The V&A

A great reference on ceramics from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Learn about different ceramics techniques and st… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Fine Antique Set Of Three Limoges Porcelain Perfume Pill / Trinket Boxes. C18902 Limoges Petite Pedestal Cake Servers Hand Painted Gilt T&v 1892-1907 EvcHaviland China Limoges Baltimore Rose Rare Large Sugar Bowl Intricate Gold C1898Haviland Limoges Large Pink Rose & Holly Dinner PlateVintage Haviland Limoges Tea Cup And Saucer France Double Gold Florals RareAntique Limoges France Plate Hand Painted Large Pink Roses And Fancy GoldHaviland Limoges Large Pink Roses Dinner Plate Artist Signed Theodore Haviland Limoges China Schleiger Pattern #319 Covered Vegetable DishT & V Limoges Depose Large Hand Painted Pink Roses Tray Gold Scalloped Rim 1907Bulk Vintage French Limoges Gilt Porcelain Inc Vase Ewer & 3 Display DishesVintage Limoges China Embossed Gilding Miniature Vase12 Amazng French Hand Painted Armorial Cobalt Gold Gilt Porcelain Dessert PlatesRare Pair Camille Faure Limoges Enamel Copper Vase Art Deco 27,5 Cms. Nice ColorAntique Porcelain 19thc Dish Plate Hand Painted Limoges Sevres Kpm French ?Lovely Vintage Hand Painted Female Lady Portrait Porcelain Plaque Artist SignedHaviland Limoges 3 Pc Tea Set Tea Pot, Creamer, Sugar Bowl # 679-1 Pink Roses Theodore Haviland Limoges 844 Pink Roses Double Gold Cup & Saucer Lot 3 Pc14 X Vignaud Limoges France Porcelain Gold Encrusted Floral 10.75" Dinner Plate10 Gorgous French Hand Painted Armorial Cobalt Gold Gilt Porcelain Dinner PlatesHaviland Limoges Pink Roses Sugar & Creamer19th C. T & V, Limoges Gilded Plates, Six (6) Yellow And Gilding - Gorgeous!Fine Antique French Limoges Porcelain Trinket / Pill Box. #13. C1890Haviland Limoges Pink Roses Chocolate Pot Set W/ 4 Cups & SaucerLarge Theodore Haviland Limoges Porcelain Oval Platter Schleiger Pattern # 319 Pair 19c French Old Paris Porcelain Floral Hand Painted Handled Vases NrLimoges France Double Gold Roses Demitasse Cup & SaucerTheodore Haviland Limoges 844 Pink Roses Double Gold 3 5/8" Dia Cup & SaucerVintage J.p. Limoges France Nappy - Artist Signed Bertha Moore - VioletsLovely Antique Hand Painted Lenox American Belleek Demitasse Cup & Saucer 1906Haviland Limoges Large Pink Roses Dinner Plate 1893? Flower Plate Haviland France Limoges T.m.james & Sons Memphis RouteMagnificent Cobalt And Gold Encrusted Platter, LimogesVintage H & C Limoges Artist Signed Hand Painted Roses Porcelain 6 7/8" Plate1890s Hand Painted Pickard China Limoges Porcelain Cherries Blossom 13.5 PitcherFine Antique French Limoges Porcelain Card Holder. C1890Haviland Limoges Pink Roses Cup & SaucerElite Limoges France Cup And Saucer4 Antique Elite Limoges France Tab Soup Bowls Pink Roses Bows Ribbons Fancy GoldGda Haviland Limoges France 4 Cups & Saucers Roses Garlands Blue Flowers GoldHaviland Limoges Set Of 6 Rose Bread PlatesCh Field Haviland Limoges China Bowl - Pink Roses + Gilt Fgc 7in C1920Haviland Limoges With Double Gold Border Cup & Saucer In Schleiger #72 Pattern6 Antique Haviland Limoges Porcelain Plates ~ Gold Center ~ Medallion ~ FloralAntique Haviland Limoges Porcelain Creamer Syrup Pitcher Pink Floral Roses 5 1/2Gorgeous Antique Limoges Porcelain Vase Birds And Wisteria2 Fabulousc1900 French Hand Painted Armorial Cobalt Gold Gilt Porcelain PlattersEarly 1900s Wa Pickard Hand-painted Plate Signed Rean Plums On Haviland Limoges Lg Antique Limoges Hand Painted Hp Grape Jpl French Gilt Porcelain PitcherVintage T & V Limoges France - Artist Signed B. Moore - Gold Trim VioletsHaviland Limoges 2 Small Pitchers ExcellentRaynaud Allee L'allee Du Roy Royale Dinnerware Place Setting 5 Pieces BnwtAntique Elite Limoges France Tab Soup Bowl Pink Roses Bows Ribbons Fancy GoldAntique Haviland Limoges Porcelain Cups & Saucers Pink Floral Roses Set Of 5Vtg Theodore Haviland Limoges Gold France 6pc Set 9-1/2" Dinner Plate Cup OldHaviland Limoges Vintage Gravy Boat Attached Underplate GoldLouveciennes Haviland Limoges 5 Piece Dinner Plate Place Set Roses Pattern ChinaHaviland Limoges Large Blush Roses Dinner PlateHaviland Limoges Double Gold Border Schleiger #72 Dinner Plate 9 5/8" DiameterLimoges Jean Pouyat Antique Hand Painted Signed Pink Roses Handled Cake Plate Vintage K.c Royal Salt & Pepper - Artist Signed B. Moore - Gold Trim Violets

Recent News: Limoges China

Source: Google News

Lisa Lockwood utilised to believe that residence fires occurred to other ...
Standard Bulletin, April 17th

Inside, Limoges china is displayed alongside gleaming Waterford crystal. Formal drapes with lush swags and complete panels are a Calico Corners style, as are several of the upholstered chairs. A grandfather clock in the hall, a Charles Sligh creation, ...Read more

Johnston: The joy of collecting
MetroWest Daily News, April 14th

When I was a kid, I collected stuff. Initially, I collected stuff that was free, because I didn't have any money. My advantage in negotiating for stuff was that when I was very young, I had winning ways (I wonder where they went?), and I was very cute...Read more

@MissBigelow: Mid-Winter Gala's FAM glam in S.F.
San Francisco Chronicle, April 9th

McCall's Catering served up a French-inspired meal atop flower-filled tables (aglow in a perfect pink hue) set with Dior's own Limoges china (engraved with a pattern created by the late Christian Dior himself) and Baccarat crystal flown in from Paris...Read more

Elise Abrams, Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Maine Antique Digest, February 5th

If you're the one in the family who has ended up with grandma's old Limoges china (as I have), don't be afraid to use it. Abrams said, “People are over cautious. You only live once. Use it.” And don't be hamstrung by its formality. Mix it with other...Read more

What's it Worth: Eastlake armchairs, Limoges china
Richmond.com, January 31st

QUESTION: During the mid-1960s, my family lived in France. My family was picking up china services and was offered these, reportedly part of the china service ordered for the Kennedys but canceled when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I would like to ...Read more

Preserving Heirs and Airs
Harvard Magazine, December 15th

The first-floor rooms are framed in the same carved walnut woodwork; landscape paintings hang in gilded frames; the mahogany dining table is set with gold-rimmed Haviland Limoges china. Heading upstairs, Schinabeck points out the central heating system ...Read more

Finest and best Limoges ware will always sell big
Arizona Daily Star, December 6th

Handpainted Limoges china from around 1870 fluctuates in popularity, but remarkable pieces have always sold well and continue to do so. It boils down to artistry and aesthetic appeal. We checked liveauctioneers.com for auction results and found more...Read more

Helaine Fendelman & Joe Rosson: Treasures: Limoges china's value largely ...
Deseret News, November 4th

Dear D. H.: We know that many of our more mature clients and readers value the Limoges china they have inherited. Unfortunately, this kind of dinnerware is not nearly as valuable as many suppose, and in these hard economic times, these sets have become ...Read more