Chocolate pot, Limoges porcelain
Limoges porcelain is hard-paste porcelain produced by factories in and around the city of Limoges, France beginning in the late 18th century, but does not refer to a particular manufacturer. By about 1830 Limoges, which was close to the areas where suitable clay was found, had replaced Paris as the main centre for private porcelain factories, although the state-owned Sèvres porcelain near Paris remained dominant at the very top of the market. Limoges has maintained this position to the present day.
Hard-paste porcelain is a ceramic material that was originally made from a compound of the feldspathic rock petuntse and kaolin fired at very high temperature, usually around 1400 °C. It was first made in China around the 7th or 8th century, and has remained the most common type of Chinese porcelain.
Limoges is a city and commune, the capital of the Haute-Vienne department and was the administrative capital of the former Limousin region in west-central France.
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
Limoges had strong antecedents in the production of decorative objects. The city was the most famous European centre of vitreous enamel production in the 12th century, and Limoges enamel was known as Opus de Limogia or Labor Limogiae.
Vitreous enamel, also called porcelain enamel, is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 °C. The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating. The word comes from the Latin vitreum, meaning "glassy".
Limoges enamel has been produced at Limoges, in south-western France, over several centuries up to the present. There are two periods when it was of European importance. From the 12th century to 1370 there was a large industry producing metal objects decorated in enamel using the champlevé technique, of which most of the survivals, and probably most of the original production, are religious objects such as reliquaries.
Limoges had also been the site of a minor industry producing plain faience earthenware since the 1730s.
Faience or faïence is the conventional name in English for fine tin-glazed pottery on a buff earthenware body, at least when there is no more usual English name for the type concerned. The invention of a white pottery glaze suitable for painted decoration, by the addition of an oxide of tin to the slip of a lead glaze, was a major advance in the history of pottery. The invention seems to have been made in Iran or the Middle East before the ninth century. A kiln capable of producing temperatures exceeding 1,000 °C (1,830 °F) was required to achieve this result, the result of millennia of refined pottery-making traditions. The term is now used for a wide variety of pottery from several parts of the world, including many types of European painted wares, often produced as cheaper versions of porcelain styles.
The manufacturing of hard-paste porcelain at Limoges was established by Turgot in 1771 following the discovery of local supplies of kaolin and a material similar to petuntse in the economically distressed area at Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche, near Limoges. The materials, which were quarried beginning in 1768, were used to produce hard-paste porcelain similar to Chinese porcelain.
Petuntse, also spelled petunse and bai dunzi, baidunzi, is a historic term for a wide range of micaceous or feldspathic rocks. However, all will have been subject to geological decomposition processes that result in a material which, after processing, is suitable as an ingredient in some ceramic formulations. The name means "little white bricks", referring to the form in which it was transported to the potteries.
Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche is a commune in the Haute-Vienne department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in west-central France.
A manufactory at Limoges was placed under the patronage of the comte d'Artois, brother of Louis XVI, and was later purchased by the King in 1784, apparently with the idea of producing hard-paste bodies for decoration at Sèvres, although this never happened.
Charles X was King of France from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. For most of his life he was known as the Count of Artois. An uncle of the uncrowned Louis XVII and younger brother to reigning kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile. After the Bourbon Restoration in 1814, Charles became the leader of the ultra-royalists, a radical monarchist faction within the French court that affirmed rule by divine right and opposed the concessions towards liberals and guarantees of civil liberties granted by the Charter of 1814. Charles gained influence within the French court after the assassination of his son Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry, in 1820 and eventually succeeded his brother in 1824.
Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as Citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title "King of France and Navarre", which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of "King of the French" until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.
After the French Revolution a number of private factories were established at Limoges, including Bernardaud and Haviland & Co.
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.
Haviland & Co. is a manufacturer of Limoges porcelain in France, begun in the 1840s by the American Haviland family, importers of porcelain to the US, which has always been the main market. Its finest period is generally accepted to be the late 19th century, when it tracked wider artistic styles in innovative designs in porcelain, as well as stoneware and sometimes other ceramics.
Limoges maintains the position it established in the 19th century as the premier manufacturing city of porcelain in France.
Counterfeiting of Limoges porcelain has been documented for decades.
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating materials, generally including kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 and 1,400 °C. The toughness, strength, and translucence of porcelain, relative to other types of pottery, arises mainly from vitrification and the formation of the mineral mullite within the body at these high temperatures. Though definitions vary, porcelain can be divided into three main categories: hard-paste, soft-paste and bone china. The category that an object belongs to depends on the composition of the paste used to make the body of the porcelain object and the firing conditions.
The Vincennes porcelain manufactory was established in 1740 in the disused royal Château de Vincennes, in Vincennes, east of Paris, which was from the start the main market for its wares.
Soft-paste porcelain is a type of ceramic material in pottery, usually accepted as a type of porcelain. It is weaker than "true" hard-paste porcelain, and does not require either the high firing temperatures or the special mineral ingredients needed for that. There are many types, using a range of materials. The material originated in the attempts by many European potters to replicate hard-paste Chinese export porcelain, especially in the 18th century, and the best versions match hard-paste in whiteness and translucency, but not in strength. But the look and feel of the material can be highly attractive, and it can take painted decoration very well.
Biscuit porcelain, bisque porcelain or bisque is unglazed, white porcelain treated as a final product, with a matte appearance and texture to the touch. It has been widely used in European pottery, mainly for sculptural and decorative objects that are not tableware and so do not need a glaze for protection.
In pottery hausmaler is a term for the artist, the style, and the pieces in hausmalerei, the process of buying pieces of pottery as plain "blanks", and then painting them in small workshops, or the homes of painters, before a final firing. In European pottery of the 17th to 19th centuries this was at certain times and places a significant part of production, and the decoration could be of very high quality.
Meissen porcelain or Meissen china was the first European hard-paste porcelain. It was developed starting in 1708 by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. After his death that October, Johann Friedrich Böttger continued von Tschirnhaus's work and brought porcelain to the market. The production of porcelain at Meissen, near Dresden, started in 1710 and attracted artists and artisans to establish one of the most famous porcelain manufacturers known throughout the world. Its signature logo, the crossed swords, was introduced in 1720 to protect its production; the mark of the swords is one of the oldest trademarks in existence.
The manufacture nationale de Sèvres is one of the principal European porcelain manufactories. It is located in Sèvres, Hauts-de-Seine, France. It is the continuation of Vincennes porcelain, founded in 1738, which moved to Sèvres in 1756. It has been owned by the French crown or government since 1759, and has always maintained the highest standards of quality. Almost immediately, it replaced Meissen porcelain as the standard-setter among European porcelain factories, retaining this position until at least the 19th century.
Plymouth porcelain was the first English hard paste porcelain, made in the county of Devon from 1768 to 1770. After two years in Plymouth the factory moved to Bristol in 1770, where it operated until 1781, when it was sold and moved to Staffordshire as the nucleus of New Hall porcelain, which operated until 1835. The Plymouth factory was founded by William Cookworthy. The porcelain factories at Plymouth and Bristol were among the earliest English manufacturers of porcelain, and the first to produce the hard-paste porcelain produced in China and the German factories led by Meissen porcelain.
Mintons was a major company in Staffordshire pottery, "Europe's leading ceramic factory during the Victorian era", an independent business from 1793 to 1968. It was a leader in ceramic design, working in a number of different ceramic bodies, decorative techniques, and "a glorious pot-pourri of styles - Rococo shapes with Oriental motifs, Classical shapes with Medieval designs and Art Nouveau borders were among the many wonderful concoctions". As well as pottery vessels and sculptures, the firm was a leading manufacturer of tiles and other architectural ceramics, producing work for both the Houses of Parliament and United States Capitol.
The Frankenthal Porcelain Factory was one of the greatest porcelain manufacturers of Germany and operated in Frankenthal in the Rhineland-Palatinate between 1755 and 1799. From the start they made hard-paste porcelain, and produced both figurines and dishware of very high quality, somewhat reflecting in style the French origin of the business, especially in their floral painting. Initially they were a private business, but from 1761 were owned by the local ruler, like most German porcelain factories of the period.
The Imperial Porcelain Factory, also known as the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, is a producer of hand-painted ceramics in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was established by Dmitry Ivanovich Vinogradov in 1744 and was supported by the Russian tsars since Empress Elizabeth. Many still refer to the factory by its well-known former name, the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory.
Jean Népomucène Hermann Nast (1754–1817) was founder of a porcelain manufacturer that pioneered a process of high relief, multicolored hard-paste porcelain.
Chantilly porcelain is French soft-paste porcelain produced between 1730 and 1800 by the manufactory of Chantilly in Oise, France. The wares are usually divided into three periods, 1730-51, 1751-1760, and a gradual decline from 1760 to 1800.
French porcelain has a history spanning a period from the 17th century to the present. The French were heavily involved in the early European efforts to discover the secrets of making the hard-paste porcelain known from Chinese and Japanese export porcelain. They succeeded in developing soft-paste porcelain, but Meissen porcelain was the first to make true hard-paste, around 1710, and the French took over 50 years to catch up with Meissen and the other German factories.
Bartolomé Sureda y Miserol (1769–1850) was a Spanish manager of several royal artistic enterprises. He served as director of the Real Fábrica del Buen Retiro and later the successor Royal Factory of La Moncloa, both making porcelain in Madrid, as well as the Real Fabrica de Pano in Guadalajara, and the Real Fábrica de Cristales de La Granja, this making glass.
Niderviller faience is one of the most famous French pottery manufacturers. It has been located in the village of Niderviller, Lorraine, France since 1735. It began as a maker of faïence, and returned to making this after a period in the mid-18th century when it also made hard-paste porcelain. In both materials, it made heavy use of deep magenta or pink in its decoration.
China painting, or porcelain painting, is the decoration of glazed porcelain objects such as plates, bowls, vases or statues. The body of the object may be hard-paste porcelain, developed in China in the 7th or 8th century, or soft-paste porcelain, developed in 18th-century Europe. The broader term ceramic painting includes painted decoration on lead-glazed earthenware such as creamware or tin-glazed pottery such as maiolica or faience.
The Londonderry Vase is a hard-paste porcelain vase, standing at 54 inches tall. It is decorated with polychrome enamels, gilding and gilt bronze mounts. It bears the Sèvres mark, two intersecting Ls with a letter in the center denoting its creation year (1813-1815) and a crown over the L’s to mark it as hard-paste. The vase was commissioned by Napoleon around 1805 to be created by the Sèvres Manufactory. The vase is currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.
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