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    

12 Antique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" Dinner Plates Gold Encrusted Band 10 Antique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" Cups & Saucers Gold Encrusted Band Large 18" Pickard Studios Limoges VaseAntique Haviland Limoges France Chocolate Pot Violets Gold 11 Antique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" Salad Plates Gold Encrusted Band Set 5 Antique Graduated Limoges Porcelain Platters~pretty Pink Roses & Gold YqzHaviland Limoges And Co., 9-piece Tea-coffee Set! Red And Green Mark! Unique!12 Antique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" Luncheon Plates Gold Encrusted Band Theodore Haviland Limoges Platter Pink Blue Lavender Rose Bow Schleiger 330 1903Set Of 2 Haviland & Co. Limoges Porcelain Covered Serving Bowls Tureen Floral10 Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" Cream Soup & Saucer Sets Gold Encrusted Band Haviland France Limoges H & C Cup & Saucer Vintage Wild RosesHaviland France Limoges H & C Cup & Saucer Vintage Roses6 Antique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" Demi Cups & Saucers Gold Encrusted Band Art Deco Arts & Crafts Pottery Olive Green Frog Bowl Vase Miniature Antique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" Sandwich Tray Gold Encrusted BandAntique Limoges Porcelain Tea Pot + 6 Cups Saucers Pink Roses W Gilt Venice 1896Haviland Limoges Square Lidded Sugar Bowl White With Gold Trim Antique Lot: 5 Pc Set Haviland & Co. Limoges Porcelain Serving Platters & Sauce Boat~haviland Limoges~ #145 Pink Rose Garland Gold Dbl Handle Round Serving Dish/lidHaviland Limoges Ranson White Gold Chocolate Pot Set 6 Cups Saucers 3 Antique Haviland Limoges Porcelain Luncheon Plates Baltimore Rose * Pink RosesPr Theodore Haviland Limoges Ramekin Cups & Saucers Rose Garlands Ribbons & BowsLimoges Haviland Roses Flowers Bouillon Cup And Saucer Gilded Double GoldAntique Theodore Haviland Limoges Sugar Bowl & Cream Pitcher, Schleiger 145Lot: 23 Pc Haviland & Co. Limoges Porcelain Tea Set Cups Saucers Creamer & BowlsAntique Theodore Haviland Limoges Butter Dish, Rose Swags, Schleiger #145 Antique Limoges T&v Tressemann And Vogt Tankard Pitcher Holly Pattern Antique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" 5 Cup Teapot Gold Encrusted Band Haviland H & Co. Limoges Creamer White With Gold Trim Foliage Motif Antique Haviland Limoge Sch #330 Berry Bowl-double Gold- Set Of 61900's Limoges George&martha Washington Dresser Set Tray Match Hatpin Holder YqzHaviland Limoges France Oval Serving Dish Plate Floral Wreaths GoldAntique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" Creamer & Sugar Bowl Gold Encrusted BandAntique / Vintage Hand Painted French Limoges Porcelain Trinket Box SignedAntique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" Covered Vegetable Bowl Gold Encrusted BandAntique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" 13" Oval Platter Gold Encrusted BandAntique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" 16" Oval Platter Gold Encrusted BandAntique T&v Limoges Hand Painted Two Handled Porcelain Plate - Violets Haviland Limoge Sch #330 Salad Plate-double Gold- Set Of 7 T & V Limoges France Divided Seafood Hand Painted Shell TrayAntique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" 12 1/4" Chop Plate Gold Encrusted BandAntique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" 16oz. Pitcher Gold Encrusted BandLimoges T & V Bouillon/ Soup Cup & Saucer- Hand Painted With Roses 1907-1917Beautiful French Art Nouveau Hand Painted Pitcher/vase 1907, LimogesHaviland Limoges France Drop Rose 8&3/8" Plate, Edge Chip Lot: 34 Pc. Set Haviland & Co. Limoges Porcelain Bowls Soup, Dessert & BerryAntique Theodore Haviland Limoges Round Covered Serving Dish, Schleiger #145 Antique Handpainted Limoges France Roses & Bees 8.25" Plate Gold Rim Signd SpearTheodore Haviland Limoge Set Of 6 Ramekins And 4 Matching Saucers2 Antique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" Relish Dishes Gold Encrusted Band~antique Limoges~ Huge Roses Heavy Gold & Jewel Edges Magnificent Display PlateVintage Signed Ak Cd Limoges France Gold Gilt Hand Painted Porcelain7 1/4" Plate Haviland Limoge Sch #330 Bread And Butter Plate-double Gold-set Of 4 5 Bernardaud Limoges France Louvre Coupe 6 3/4" Salad Dessert Plate Lot WhiteT & V Limoges France Art Pottery Bowl Hand Painted Gilt Trim DecorativeAntique Raynaud Limoges "renaissance" Gravy Boat Gold Encrusted BandA & C Bavaria Chocolate Pot Four Chocolate Cups Green Purple Grapes Signed KochMonumental W.g. & Co. Limoges France Hand Painted JardiniereLot: 32 Pc. Set Haviland & Co. Limoges Porcelain Plates Dinner, Salad & Dessert

Recent News: Limoges China

Source: Google News

Five go on a Treasure hunt: the car-boot sale dilemma
Irish Times, July 7th

I arrive at Fethard's weekly car-boot sale, which has been running for 30 years now in Co Tipperary. I have been to this sale before. I have come away with six Japanese hand-painted plates, a wooden box, Limoges china coffee cups, and sundry other...Read more