We have a number of Limoges plates
featuring Paris landmarks by
artist Louis Dali
Click on the image below to view them.
Many people think that Limoges is the name of a company but this is not true. The name Limoges can be used on any piece that is made with the kaolin clay and designated as hard-paste porcelain produced by factories around the city of Limoges, France from the late 1700s until around 1930. In fact, this is the only French law there is regarding markings on the porcelain pieces, anything else can be put on a piece. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult for a collector to identify the different pieces or manufacturers. Production did not cease in 1930, however. This arbitrary cut off date simply denotes a change in the global economy when the styles of Limoges wares notably changed from very elaborate to more basic in design.
At one point in the 1920s as many as 48 companies were producing wares marked Limoges, according to ceramics expert Mary Frank Gaston in The Collector's Encyclopedia of Limoges. These pieces weren't only marked Limoges denoting their origin, however. Many pieces had factory marks and even marks showing who decorated each piece.
It's important to understand, however, that the factories operating in the Limoges region primarily produced elaborately molded white wares. These undecorated pieces, also known as "blanks," were taken to decorating studios away from the factory or exported without decoration. The blanks exported to American soil often ended up in the hands of eager china painting students, with this being a popular hobby for ladies during the
Is the decor top-notch in terms of quality?
Does it have finely detailed hand painting?
Is it signed by the artist?
Is it decorated with transfers?
Naturally, with some of the Limoges pieces being decorated by amateurs, collectors sometimes notice a variation in the quality of the décor. When valuing Limoges pieces, this should be taken into consideration. High quality hand painting holds more value than the work of an unskilled porcelain painter. And if a skillfully decorated piece is signed by the artist, it can be worth even more.
Some pieces of Limoges porcelain were decorated with transfers as well. These transfers were decals of sorts that mimicked hand decorating and were often combined with techniques executed by hand. Even a beautifully transferred piece will hold more value than a poorly executed hand-decorated item. Generally, however, collectors prefer hand decorated pieces and will pay premium prices to procure a nice exampl
Limoges in America
The Limoges porcelain found most often by collectors in antique malls and shops these days largely represents the American version of early Limoges, with Haviland being a prominent name. In fact, status-conscious brides often chose Haviland dinnerware sets as their wedding china in the late Victorian period, according to Gaston (The Collector's Encyclopedia of Limoges). Clever marketers for the Haviland company did research in the U.S. noting the popular designs, colors and types of tableware used in this country, which differed greatly from European preferences. From the mid-19th century to the beginning of the Great Depression, Americans extensively used Haviland Limoges dinnerware on well-set tables. This accounts for so many sets that have been passed down from grandmothers and great-grandmothers to their lucky families.
Some porcelain collectors solely concentrate on Haviland products and largely ignore other Limoges company names. Others focus on a broader range of Limoges items from a variety of manufacturers. They move away from the quaint dinnerware toward decorative accessories such as vases, trays and tankards generally featuring more vivid coloration and an abundance of decorative gold trim.
Although Limoges pieces have remained popular with collectors for many years, there are few reproductions on the market. So if being victimized by fake antiques generally worries you, consider Limoges as a collecting choice. Once you begin to notice this attractive porcelain with timeless elegance, and pick up a few pieces to enjoy in your own home, you'll have an investment quality collection in no time. Or, consider a beautiful Limoges piece as a gift idea for an antique lover and you really can't go wrong.