Treasures: Amateur Decorating on Limoges Plate is ‘Beautiful’

Dear Helaine and Joe:

This Limoges plate measures 7  by 11 inches. Please let me know the value. I am enclosing pictures.

Thanks in advance,

C.

Dear C.:

This query gives us the opportunity to state unequivocally that we cannot answer questions that arrive without good photographs. We must be able to see what we are evaluating and will not under any circumstances take a guess based on a word description. To be succinct-no pictures, no answers.

With that bit of business out of the way, let us say this is not a “plate” at all but a dresser tray that once graced a lady’s dressing table and held such things as a cologne bottle, a candle holder for a single candle, a ring tree, a small box for holding pins and the like, perhaps a powder box, hat pin holder, hair receiver and so forth. Of course this small tray could not have held all those objects, but milady would choose the objects she found most useful to aid her in her┬ámorning dressing routine.

C. identifies this tray as having been made in “Limoges” and this is correct. Limoges is a city in France about 200 miles south of Paris and pottery has been made there for a very long time. But in 1768, the wife of the local doctor in the village of Saint Yrieix (not far from Limoges) discovered a white earth that turned out to be kaolin-one of the two major ingredients of Chinese-style hard paste porcelain.

This is significant because Chinese-style hard past porcelain had not been widely made in France before this because the ingredients could not be sourced locally. The discovery led to a porcelain-making industry springing up in Limoges with production beginning in the late 18th century.


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