Sunday, February 16, 2020

Limoges Boxes

Like Herend or Staffordshire, Limoges boxes are a collectable and they also make great gifts to mark special occasions.  You can find these now in resale shops, on the Internet and of course, Etsy is a great source.  You can find them for as cheap as $40 and into the hundreds of dollars but most seem to be priced around $100 unless they are extraordinary.

These small boxes are made of hard-paste porcelain near the city of Limoges, France and were first created in the mid-18th century when King Louis XVI gave the city the exclusive right to produce these Royal boxes for the Kingdom of France.  The first ones made were long narrow containers created for expensive needles.  Snuff boxes were made beginning around 1730. The animal ones are my favorite.

The creation of the Limoges box is a time intensive process of creating a master mold, detail painting by hand of color and design, performing multiple firings and glazing upon the porcelain mold, and a final touch of a metal hinge for opening and closing. The painting of the Limoges porcelain in the Limoges box industry are accomplished by small handed French artisans, as experts at the fine brush strokes required for such detailed work. After painting, there are multiple firings. The final firing at a temperature of 1400C is unique to Limoges, giving them a very fine pure and strong white finish. The final touch to a Limoges box is the metal hinged mountings that are meticulously fitted to the finished box. The entire work process is made by hand, so small variations are the norm, thus making each piece really unique. Each model is often made in very limited numbers, & signed by the artists.

(Inside the Dox Box)


To be authentic, a Limoges box must be made of the kaolin clay that is found only in France.  A back stamp (on the bottom of the box) saying Limoges France will indicate if it is authentic.  A law passed in 1871 states that all Limoges boxes must be stamped this way.

Many studios operating around Limoges mark their porcelains with their factory symbol of initials. The number of factories producing Limoges currently estimate at about 35 different companies.


Here is an older one:


Love these!

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