French Limoges Boxes: Fact vs. Fiction
From time to time, we are asked this question by gift buyers: “Is this piece made by Limoges?” For those who may not be so familiar with the artistry of Limoges, we thought to help separate fact from fiction about how and where French Limoges boxes are made.
Myth: “Limoges” is a brand name.
Fact: There is no “Limoges” brand name. Limoges is both a name of a city and a region in France. A Limoges box is a porcelain box made in Limoges, France. When a piece is marked “Limoges, France”, the term does not refer to a brand name but to the origin of manufacture which includes the city of Limoges or any of the various villages or towns in the vicinity within the Limousine region of central France.
Myth: Limoges Boxes are made in one factory.
Fact: In reality, Limoges porcelain is produced by numerous small and medium sized factories, the number of which varies depending on the world economy and the demand for French porcelain. In the recent years, there have been about 40-50 factories in the Limoges region. Some factories specialize only in tableware, others produce both tableware and decorative art pieces such as vases and Limoges boxes. Many Limoges factories only produce the white porcelain.
Myth: All Limoges Boxes are made in factories.
Fact: The answer to this statement is yes and no. As stated above, there are many small and medium-sized factories in Limoges who produce the white porcelain. The production of white porcelain is a multi-faceted, lengthy and labor-intensive process. However, crafting a Limoges box has two other un-related stages: hand-painting and metalwork. Hand-painting porcelain is a completely separate art performed by seasoned porcelain artisans who paint each piece by hand and fire them in stages. Some factories have factory painters and/or independent artists. There are also various independent, home-based artists in Limoges who perform the painting phase of decorating Limoges boxes. The final phase of Limoges production is the metalwork and hinging which is often performed by specialty metal workshops in Limoges. So a finished art-piece Limoges box may have gone through several locations and crafted by numerous craftsmen and artists before it is ready to be made available for purchase. To find out more about how a Limoges box is made, see What Is a Limoges Box.
Myth: Limoges Boxes are made in Limited Edition of 500 or 1000 all at once.
Fact: Limoges boxes are NOT mass-produced. Many Limoges boxes are made in a Limited Edition, in reference to the shape, design or coloring used. However, they are never produced in large quantities all at once. Limoges boxes are made to order and are normally produced in small quantities. When a limited edition is designated upon a style, that means that shape, style or color selection for that style will cease when the final number is reached. Many a time, the production of certain style of Limoges box never reaches the full number of the limited edition placed upon it. This makes every Limoges box an individually crafted and highly collectible art piece.
Myth: Limoges is a quaint village near Paris.
is an industrial city in central France and is considered the porcelain capital
of France. The city of Limoges is home
to several porcelain factories but also has a beautiful old-town section with
historical buildings. The city of
Limoges is also home to the famous Adrien Dubouché
Museum which displays
collection of Limoges porcelain in the world. To
learn more about Limoges and the Limoges region, see About Limoges, France.
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