A Flying Visit To Limoges

Although we deal almost solely with British potteries at Perfect Pieces, we do occasionally remember that there are other countries out there that are famous for their ceramics, too!

A recent trip to France took us past the city of Limoges and reminded us that we didn't know much about this city's famous porcelain. The first thing to realise is that unlike some other famous, geographically-named potteries (such as Worcester and Meissen), Limoges porcelain doesn't come from a single factory - it is simply porcelain that has been made by one of many factories in Limoges. (This is similar to Gouda pottery, which was made by one of several potteries in the Gouda area of Holland).


Example of a Meissen porcelain plate & a Gouda pottery mark

Porcelain manufacture in Limoges started in the 1770s, shortly after a fine supply of kaolin (white clay) was found nearby. The area around the city was fairly poor at the time and the establishment of a new ceramics industry helped improve economic conditions in the area, providing employment and generating wealth.

Limoges porcelain became widely admired and probably reached the height of its fame in the 19th century, when it was very fashionable. Today, it retains its appeal amongst porcelain collectors, and more than half of all porcelain made in France is made in Limoges.

French porcelain is not a common sight at most antique and collectors fairs in the UK, but there is usually a reasonably good choice of British porcelain, especially Royal Crown Derby and Royal Worcester.

Derby University Antiques & Collectors fair (22nd/23rd May) usually has a fair selection of both (especially Royal Crown Derby, which is made locally) and both Wetherby Racecourse (29th/30th May) and the Newark IACF (10th/11th June) antique fairs should also offer collectors a choice of porcelain and pottery. If you're in the area for any of these, why not pay them a visit and see what you can find?

Best wishes,

Perfect Pieces

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