I received this antique porcelain plate from my mother-in-law last weekend. It came together with other beautiful dinnerware it was offered to us, but today I’m featuring this Limoges. As you may know, Limoges is synonymous of high-quality decorated porcelain manufactured in the city with the same name located about 200 miles south of Paris. Different factories produced it in France from the late 1700s until around 1930.
When I saw this plate, it immediately reminds me of some pieces my mother has in her collection, an inheritance of my grandmother. So, I grew up knowing that a Limoges seal means exquisitely fine porcelain. It’s not by chance that Limoges is used by many Royal families and is part of the White House tableware, like a set purchased by Franklin Pierce.
If you’re interested in knowing more about Limoges porcelain, I suggest you to consult the Collectors Encyclopedia of Limoges Porcelain, a valuable guide. Did you know that porcelain comes from the Portuguese word porcella? As attested by Mary Frank Gaston in this encyclopedia, that was the name “for the shell made by a type of mollusk, the cowrie. This shell is translucent, and the Portuguese gave this name to the translucent pottery they were importing from China during the 1500s.”
As Limoges is an icon of fine porcelain, the same epitome applies to the made in Portugal Vista Alegre, founded in 1824. The President of the Portuguese Republic uses Vista Alegre tableware for official occasions. It is also used in the White House and by many Royal families and politicians around the world, such as Queen Elizabeth II of England, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Queen Beatriz of the Netherlands, formerly by President Ronald Reagan and the former President of Brazil Lula da Silva – They all own Vista Alegre tableware. In Portugal, if you’re looking for a high quality dinnerware, you know you can only buy Vista Alegre. Every good families have Vista Alegre sets. My mom has it. I will have mine too.
In the meantime I’m enjoying my unique plates and this Limoges in particular. This one has the mark of Blakeman and Henderson, which are known to have commissioned high quality porcelain from Limoges in the late 1890s to early 1900s.
I’m interested in knowing a little more about the history of this plate. If anyone know something else about this collection I would love to hear from you!