History of Limoges Porcelain
Marco Polo was credited with the discovery of the ceramic substance called "Porcelain" during his famous voyage to China. China was the only means of import for porcelain until the end of the 17th century. In the early 18th century Marquise de Pompadour began importing from china and manufacturing porcelain in France. 'Manufacture De Sevres' began near Paris and became the largest porcelain distributor in Europe.
Originally the white substance used to make the fine porcelain referred to as Limoges was discovered by a chemist's wife in 1765 in hopes of being used as a soap. In St. Yrieixin a town near Limoges France the substance was identified as a pure form of Kaolin. The soil of the area surrounding Limoges is rich in deposits of kaolin and feldspar, the essential ingredients for hard paste porcelain.
In 1771 Limoges, one of the oldest towns in the French kingdom rapidly began constructing manufacturing facilities with wood burning kilns for the production of fine porcelain.
The name of the city of Limoges has become synonymous with the high quality porcelain products manufactured by those early companies.
The hand painting and decorating of Limoges porcelains was done by factory approved hired artists as well as other professional and unprofessional artists.
The porcelain was used to create useful pieces and tableware such as plates, bowls, trays & pitchers. Pieces for entertaining guests, such as punch bowls, finial handled trays for treats, and tea sets. In addition fancy decorative pieces were produced such as dresser sets, plaques & vases.
Haviland is one of the most popular manufactures of Limoges found within the United States. Since Haviland did clever marketing research based on contemporary design preferences with the United States, collectors find that many of the Limoges tableware passed down from grandmothers and great grandmothers in the states were produced by Haviland.
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True Quality Limoges pieces were produced between the late 1700's until the 1930's. Production of Limoges continued after 1930 but the quality hand painted objects changed due to global economics. The styles became much more basic also.
When looking for hand painted Limoges porcelains, collectors concern themselves with artistically pleasing pieces in very good condition. Collections can be: works from a particular artist, a theme (such as roses or berries), a color scheme, a particular mold or a particular Limoges manufacturer.
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