Limoges, the name of a city in France, became the generic name for all of the porcelain that was produced in one of the many factories in the Limoges region. It has been mass produced from the 19th century well into the 20th century and created a new medium for painting. Painting on porcelain was a profitable commercial industry for artists with the Limoges factories in France, with the American decorating studios in the United States also becoming well known. Their painted pieces of Limoges have become very collectible today.

In America, by the turn of the 20th century, painting on porcelain had become a cottage industry for more than 25,000 talented artists, most of them women who were not allowed to achieve professional status in that era.
Women like Adelaide Alsop Robineau made history when in 1899, along with her husband Samuel, she published Keramic Studio, the first monthly magazine on china painting. Thousands of unknown artists are responsible for the hand-painted pieces of Limoges that collectors proudly display today.
Each piece is as unique as the talented individual who painted it. These pieces of Limoges would be nothing other than a white blank (which a few might call beautiful in this form) if not for the artists who were devoted to painting on porcelain.
During the 19th century in the Limoges region, there were approximately 32 factories and 62 decorating studios. The number of factories increased to 48 by 1920. Each factory had its own porcelain and decorating marks. Many had several different marks during their porcelain production years. A piece of Limoges will have a mark under the glaze, indicating the factory that produced it, and it may have a mark over the glaze that identifies the factory that decorated the piece.
Currently there are more than 400 known marks to identify factories that produced and decorated Limoges. One of the best known is the Haviland factory. Other examples are the Jean Pouyat (J.P.L.) and Tressemann & Vogt (T&V) factories. To answer one of the most asked questions: Many of these factory marks do not include the word “Limoges” or “France.”
Today, Limoges is still considered the Mecca for hard-paste porcelain in France, and there are about 40 factories currently in production exporting table china, dinnerware sets, and Limoges boxes. Limoges blanks, the shape of the piece of porcelain, came in all forms and sizes: dinnerware, decorative pieces such as chargers and plaques, chocolate, coffee and teapots, jardinières and planters, lamps, punch bowls, tankards, cider pitchers and vases. These Limoges blanks were produced in the factories in France. The blank was then decorated in one of the factories in France, or exported to the United States. Once in America, the blanks were sold to one of the professional decorating factories in the United States, to china painting schools, or to a department store for one of the many amateur artists of the era to purchase and hand paint.

The majority of the amateur American china painters were those women who were allowed creative occupations, and those who considered it a hobby. Woman played significant roles in the birth of the china-painting movement in America. In 1873 in Cincinnati, Karl Lagenbeck, an immigrant ceramic chemist, and his neighbor, Maria Longworth Nicols (1849-1932) experimented with overglaze china paints. Maria, a student at the McMicken School of Design, placed some of her decorated pieces on display at a student exhibition. Several classmates, specifically one Mary Louise McLaughlin (1847-1939), was so smitten by the beauty of Nicols’ work that she requested their instructor, Ben Pitman, to purchase the necessary supplies to paint on porcelain. With so much interest in this new art form, Pitman engaged Marie Eggers, an immigrant who had studied the art of china painting in the Dresden factory, to teach a class in 1874. This group of students entered their wares in the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition and were responsible for exposing millions of Americans to this new art form.

This Lemonade Pitcher Auction includes two hand-painted glasses. The blank was manufactured by the Jean Pouyat (J.P.L.) factory in Limoges but because the image is not signed over the factory glaze; it was probably painted by one of the American Women in the Cottage Industries of the Late 1890s; either for her personal use or for pen money. Limoges-Lemonade1

If you’re interested, I am selling this piece on eBAY at: