Beautiful pair of hand painted Old Paris Porcelain vases.
What is Old Paris Porcelain?
Old Paris Porcelain or as the French say Vieux Paris Porcelain refers not to a single manufacturer but to more than thirty porcelain sources based within the City of Paris between the mid 1700’s until around 1870 the end of the Second Empire. The term was not actually used until the latter part of that period.
The various Paris artisans mostly situated in the northeast side of Paris honed their skills in a hurry or went out of business. At the outset they had to compete with King Louis XV’s own Royal Manufactory at Sevres just 18 miles to the southwest of the city. To minimize competition the king even enacted laws that severely restricted the activities of other porcelain manufacturers. But as the impact of porcelain became clearer as to its positive impact on the French economy Old Paris porcelain enjoyed more latitude in its operations.
In fact Old Paris manufacturers also benefited not only from intense competition from one another but in some cases were creatively and financially nimbler than even the Royal manufactory at Sevres. Many Old Paris porcelain artisans had their own patrons from the French nobility. They catered more quickly to changing styles and customs. By the turn of the nineteenth century nearly all Old Paris porcelain was the hard-paste variety thanks to the earlier discovery of kaolin near Limoges.
No porcelain mark ever came to be synonymous with Old Paris china. Click here to see why there is no real “official” Old Paris Mark. Actually around 70% of the production during its era had no marks at all. Many of the Old Paris artisans worked with blanks or “white wares” that had originally been produced at Limoges and even at Sevres. Their jobs in those cases were strictly to act as decorators but magnificent works came from these people. Their stories are much like the emergence of fine porcelain in Dresden as originally it was in the orbit of the manufactory at Meissen.
Names such as Dihl Nast Dagoty Neppel Edouard Honore Denuelle Clauss Gille and Petit all distinguished themselves as Old Paris porcelain artisans winning many honors and achieving great financial success. Their works ranged in style from neo-classical rococo revival to renaissance revival.
With the sensitivity to changing times the various exponents of Old Paris porcelain are among the finest European porcelain.