Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sèvres Porcelain...


Some of you will recall my fondness for Wedgwood China (Post One and Two). I do collect other styles of china as well, and have recently come into possession of two Sevres-style porcelain and ormolu garnitures. They would have originally belonged to a clock with matching porcelain panels. Alas, the clock was not with the garnitures when I found them.

I had never really been a huge fan of Sevres, finding much of it, like Limoges, slightly twee and gaudy. However, somehow these two ended up coming home with me on a recent sojourn and are now in the drawing room...



This prompted me to look further into the provenance of the items. They are stamped and dated as early 19th century pieces. They are definitely not as fine as some Sevres garnitures...






and the Sevres clocks that go with them...






The history of Sevres porcelain starts in 1738 when the Marquis Orry de Fulvy, brother of the Minister of Finance, obtained a licence to manufacture Saxon styled porcelain

At that time the brothers Dubois, who were arcanists that fled from Chantilly, had already experimented to produce porcelain at the Chateau de Vincennes. Together with Gravant, they succeeded to produce a type of soft paste frit-porcelain around 1745.

Read more about Sevres Porcelain | History of Sevres Porcelain by www.antique-marks.com

Sevres porcelain history starts in 1738 when the Marquis Orry de Fulvy, brother of the Minister of Finance, obtained from the French king Louis XV a licence to manufacture porcelain in the Saxon manner

At that time the brothers Dubois, who were arcanists that fled from Chantilly, had already experimented to produce porcelain at the Chateau de Vincennes. Together with Gravant, they succeeded to produce a type of soft paste frit-porcelain around 1745.

Read more about Sevres Porcelain | History of Sevres Porcelain by www.antique-marks.com

Sevres porcelain history starts in 1738 when the Marquis Orry de Fulvy, brother of the Minister of Finance, obtained from the French king Louis XV a licence to manufacture porcelain in the Saxon manner

At that time the brothers Dubois, who were arcanists that fled from Chantilly, had already experimented to produce porcelain at the Chateau de Vincennes. Together with Gravant, they succeeded to produce a type of soft paste frit-porcelain around 1745.

Read more about Sevres Porcelain | History of Sevres Porcelain by www.antique-marks.com

Sevres porcelain history starts in 1738 when the Marquis Orry de Fulvy, brother of the Minister of Finance, obtained from the French king Louis XV a licence to manufacture porcelain in the Saxon manner

At that time the brothers Dubois, who were arcanists that fled from Chantilly, had already experimented to produce porcelain at the Chateau de Vincennes. Together with Gravant, they succeeded to produce a type of soft paste frit-porcelain around 1745.

Read more about Sevres Porcelain | History of Sevres Porcelain by www.antique-marks.com

from Louis XV.

Sevres Porcelain traces its roots in France to early craftsmen in Lille, Rouen. St. Cloud, and most notably Chantilly. In 1738 the workers from Chantilly migrated to the Chateau de Vincennes near Paris and formed a larger porcelain factory. French King Louis XV, perhaps inspired by his mistress Madame de Pompadour, took an intense interest in porcelain and moved the operation in 1756 to an even larger quarters in the Parisian suburb of Sevres. Sevres was also conveniently near the home of Madame de Pompadour, Chateau de Bellevue, built in 1750, and the King's own Palace at Versailles.


From the outset the king's aim was to produce Porcelain that surpassed the established Saxony works of Meissen and Dresden. Though the French lacked an ample supply of kaolin, a required ingredient for hard-paste porcelain (pate dure), their soft-paste porcelain (pate tendre) was fired at a lower temperature and was thus compatible with a wider variety of colors and glazes that in many cases were richer and more vivid.

Unglazed white Sevres Porcelain biscuit (twice fired) figurines were also popular. However, soft-paste Sevres Porcelain was more easily broken. Therefore, early pieces of Sevres Porcelain that remain intact have become rare indeed.

Despite the popularity of the pieces nowadays, the Sevres Porcelain factory suffered financial hardship on many occasions. In part this may have been due to the king's insistence that only the finest items be created - as only a limited number of European nobility could afford the extravagant prices demanded for such works. King Louis XV and his heir, invested heavily in the Sevres enterprise. In the end, the Sevres factory produced items by royal warrant and thus the well-known Sevres mark was born. King Louis XV even enacted laws that severely restricted other porcelain production in France to try to create a monopoly for his Sevres Porcelain. The king even hosted an annual New Year's Day showing for French nobility in his private quarters at Versailles and encouraged them to purchase the pieces.



Sevres Porcelain may have given Meissen and Dresden a run for their money, but the French Revolution saw the works practically out of business due to the economic devastation of the new French Republic.

Under Napoleon Bonepart, a new director was named for the Sevres operations: Alexandre Brongniart. He resurrected Sevres. Soft-paste porcelain was eliminated altogether thanks to the discovery of kaolin near Limoges. The market started to open up to the middle classes with more reasonably priced items being made, and for the next forty years business boomed. Today the factory is still in operation making fine contemporary china.


Maybe we should turn the 'Wedgewood Room' into a 'Porcelain Room' in general...



For a good potted history of Sevre go to http://www.antique-marks.com/sevres-porcelain.html

2 comments:

  1. Wonderful collection of images! I see that you've put me on your blog roll and wanted to let you know that I have reciprocated. Many thanks and happy New Year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Incredibly beautiful story Sevre :)

    ReplyDelete

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