ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Best French Limoges porcelain boxes

Updated on February 12, 2015
Beautiful decorative eggs at La Vie en Rose Porcelain factory in Saint Junien, S W France
Beautiful decorative eggs at La Vie en Rose Porcelain factory in Saint Junien, S W France | Source
Two gifts in one - earrings in a Limoges Porcelaine Box
Two gifts in one - earrings in a Limoges Porcelaine Box | Source

The Perfect Gift

What would be the perfect gift for the woman in your life? Something delicate, beautiful and personal? A gift that is small enough to send by post? Something she can treasure for life?The first of a growing collection or a much appreciated addition to the fold? An object with history, the romance of France and something that will appreciate in value over time? A valuable container for an even more precious gift? A little box that says, I love you?

Limoges boxes are charming objects made from hand painted porcelain in the French city of Limoges. Small, exquisite and individual, you can choose a box suited to every taste and for every occasion. These hand decorated boxes have that personal, unique quality so hard to find and so much appreciated. The perfect gift.

We are lucky enough to live in Limousin at Les Trois Chenes where we run a guest house and self-catering holiday cottage or gite. Just fifty minutes from Limoges, we're perfectly placed to pick up the bargains. 

Limoges Station
Limoges Station | Source
The Porcelain Museum
The Porcelain Museum | Source

Limoges, 'The Red City'

Limoges porcelain is famed not only for its beauty, but for its durability, and this hard paste porcelain was imported from china where the exact process of manufacture was a closely guarded secret. The key ingredient was Kaolin, a type of clay. When a deposit of very pure kaolin was found near Saint Yrieix-la-Perche, (about 30 km away from Limoges), in 1766 the region enjoyed a golden age of porcelain manufacture.

The hard-paste porcelain requiring this type of extra-fine clay (as opposed to the inferior ‘soft-paste), was first made in France in the 1760’s, at the royal factory in Sèvres. Limoges, however, had produced enamels since the XIIc. And because of the established enamel works, it was easy to build up china works here, especially as the oak and chestnut woodlands and forests of the area guaranteed a ready supply of fuel.

Read more of the history and background of Porcelain manufacture Limoges: Princess of Porcelain

Where is Limoges?

A
Limoges:
Limoges, France

get directions

Pretty as a picture
Pretty as a picture | Source
On the back you should find the signature or initials of the painter
On the back you should find the signature or initials of the painter | Source

Boxes

Limoges boxes were originally used as snuff boxes, (Tabatiere in French) or as containers for sweets, (bonbonnieres) or scent. They also served as cane heads and small carrying cases, (etuis). They were originally made at Sevres, along with the production of false teeth!

Among these the snuff box became an immediate success. A century earlier a diplomat called Nicot introduced tobacco in France. At that time tobacco was snuffed (sniffed) not smoked. The snuff was wrapped in small linen bags and placed in leather pouches or silver, gold, wooden and ivory boxes. All of these materials were difficult to decorate or very expensive, but porcelain was so much more adaptable and soon thousands of different shapes of Tabatieres were being produced. The boxes were assembled with metal settings made of brass, gold or silver. However, all good things must come to an end, and during the revolution soldiers began to smoke tobacco rather than to sniff it, and slowly but surely the demand for Limoges boxes declined.

In time these little china boxes were lost or destroyed, and so became rare and much sought after. It was due to the high demand from antique collectors that interest in the manufacture of the boxes was rekindled. Some producers consulted historians and carried out research in museums and libraries, locating original moulds where possible. Where they could not be found, they were reconstructed from documentary evidence. Meanwhile, the original boxes that did survive carry a very high value, fetching up to a million French Francs at auction.

Collecting Limoges boxes today can become a fascinating and enduring interest, and a good collection will always be an excellent investment. Why not take a trip to Limoges and see what there is to offer at first hand?

Today there are more than 36 studios, (ateliers), in the city of Limoges that design and make these boxes. To be classed as 'Limoges Boxes' they must be made in Limoges and from Limoges kaolin’. You must be on your guard for cheap and poor quality imitations. True Limoges boxes from the best factories and ateliers will be charming in design, beautifully crafted, strong and translucent; they are made by highly skilled artists who are trained for years.

What distinguishes a ‘Limoges Box’?

In addition to the qualities listed above:

  • ·The boxes are all miniature, some as small as 1 inch by 1/2 inch though most are between 2 and three inches in size.
  • ·Have a look on the base of the box for the artists signature or initials and for a number in the case of limited editions. When they’re numbered, the number 1 is the last box made. In the best factories the molds generally produce about 300-400 boxes before they are discarded. If the edition is limited to, say, 1000, that means more than 1 mold was used. In either case this makes the Limoges Box special.
  • They may also be limited editions.

For more information about collecting have a look at these sites:
LimogesBoxCollector.com

Limoges is a wonderful and surprising city

Maison de la Porcelain: Aix-sur-Vienne
Maison de la Porcelain: Aix-sur-Vienne | Source

Porcelain painting at Saint Mathieu

Hand Painting Limoges Porcelain, Saint Mathieu, S W France
Hand Painting Limoges Porcelain, Saint Mathieu, S W France | Source

A film about the Porcelain Industry set in Limoges

Les Destinées
Les Destinées

'Les Destinees Sentimentales' is an Emmanuelle Beart film about Limoges Porcelain industry and set near Limoges. A great insight into the history of the porcelain business in this area of France

 

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Les Trois Chenes profile imageAUTHOR

      Les Trois Chenes 

      7 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Giseppe, many thanks for your interesting message. I'm afraid I'm not a Limoges porcelain expert, (far from it!), just an enthusiast who finds it fascinating to visit the shops and factories around Limousin as we are living here now and running our B&B and gite. If you would like me put pictures of your collection on my hubs, or even write a hub about them I'd be delighted to receive information and pictures. Sorry we missed your last visit. Come and stay with us next time.

    • profile image

      Giuseppe Davide G. 

      7 years ago

      Dear experts:

      My wife is History Master and I am a Business man, we have the inherite from the Great grandMother, super high value , A collection Unique One of a kind , Limoges Balleroy freres , Decal Mixtion , hand painted, French Antique Authentic porcelain with 2 marks UNDER THE GLAZE survives from the Europe French ancient period,(1760-1938) for the Billionaires top art collectors, Nobody have nowhere this Collection. are you going to , write, or call me for send you the picture photos history and documents for this Genuine 72 pieces survives the wars world first and second .

      i wating for you answer

      Giuseppe 507 66394103 in Panama central America

      .

      Thanks

      Giseppe

      D.P. We came UNEXPECTED in 2007 SORRY

    • Les Trois Chenes profile imageAUTHOR

      Les Trois Chenes 

      7 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Lily, you are the star of my video and from Limoges Box Collector.com! Delighted to meet you here. I'm pleased to hear from an expert that they really do appreciate. I'm going to start collecting in ernest as I'm ideally placed to pick up bargains, living only 50 minutes from Limoges. The square box in the pictures at the top of the article was left in our house when we bought it. The first in my collection. Many thanks for leaving your expert thoughts.

    • profile image

      Lily 

      7 years ago

      Love your collection of Limoges boxes. Most Limoges boxes are only made in a very small limited numbers. They are very collectible and do increase in value.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)