Following the relaxation of French laws protecting Sevres china, many high-quality china manufacturers were established in Paris toward the end of the 18th century. By 1850, most of these manufacturers relocated their operations to the Limoges area of France due to the lower rent and labour costs and the proximity to pure, white kaolin clay in the area. Limoges has continued as the primary location for porcelain production in France since that time. David Haviland, an American, established a porcelain factory in Limoges in 1842. Sons of the founder, Charles Field Haviland and Theodore Haviland, continued the family business of manufacturing porcelain. Charles Field Haviland particularly found popularity with floral designs and his porcelain became famous as an inspiration for Monet, the French impressionist painter.
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Things you need
- Haviland porcelain
- Magnifying glass
- Internet or bookstore or library resources
Wash the piece of porcelain with non-abrasive cleaner and warm water to clear dust from the markings. Handle carefully using a soft cloth.
Turn the piece of porcelain bottom-up to view the back marks. With a magnifying glass and in good light, distinguish the colours and shapes of the letters and other marks on the porcelain.
Match the markings and letters to those you see pictured in sources like books or online sources for markings that are used to identify authentic pieces of porcelain manufactured by Haviland Limoges.
Back marks can include manufacturer and decorator marks. For example, between 1878 and 1880, a simple "H & Co." or "H & Co." underlined in green underglaze was a distinguishing manufacturer back mark for Haviland Limoges. The same piece might also have decorator marks in red underglaze with the text "HAVILAND & Co." curved above the word "Limoges."
The mark found most commonly on Haviland Limoges is the backmark "Haviland" in curved text over the word "France" in green underglaze. This mark dates from 1894-1931, the period when the most porcelain was sold by Limoges.
From 1868 to 1898, there were many marks used by Charles Field and Theodore Haviland. "CH Field Haviland," "Limoges and CHF," usually in green underglaze, are manufacturer marks indicating Charles Field porcelain. In 1882, the letters "GDM" were added underneath the "CHF" upon the purchase of the company by Gerard, Dufraisseix and Abbot following the retirement of Charles Field. Theodore Haviland's porcelain backmarks usually bear his name, or "Theo. Haviland," above the text of "Limoges, France."
Consult a local professional appraiser for an accurate evaluation of antique porcelain. It is the case that much porcelain was produced in Limoges factories that lack backmarks. A professional antique china appraiser will be helpful in this case and also with providing provenance detail as there are thousands of Limoges patterns manufactured by Haviland family members engaged in porcelain design and manufacturing.
Tips and warnings
- Antique lovers are frequently attracted to collecting fine porcelain. Discovering a lovely piece of china is enhanced by the adventure and sometimes challenging task of locating the provenance on a favourite porcelain item. Working with good and professional sources is the best way to train your eyes and find porcelain that appeals to your tastes also providing value and investment potential.
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