Thursday, April 28, 2016

Spring flowers at le château de Hopkins.

Spring flowers in a late 18th century Old Paris porcelain Neoclassical vase signed by the Locré factory on a 1820's English Regency silver tray at le château de Hopkins.

The Locré and Russinger porcelain factory, one of the many which set up in the city of Paris during the final quarter of the 18th century. Jean-Baptiste Locré was a businessman who invested his fortune in building the factory at La Courtille. He invited Laurentius Russinger, a porcelain specialist and sculptor who had worked at the Höchst factory to work there in 1772 and in 1777 appointed him as manager. By the late 1760s the right kind of clay (kaolin) to make glassy Meissen style porcelain, had been discovered in France at Saint-Yrieux, near Limoges. This was used by Russinger to produce a hard-paste porcelain similar to Meissen that could withstand boiling water, which was an important selling point for the factory's wares that they used in their advertisements. The factory also adopted the mark of a pair of crossed flaming torches, reminiscent of Meissen's crossed swords mark. Sometimes known as 'La Courtille' after its location in Paris, the factory is also sometimes referred to as Locré, Russinger and Pouyat - François Pouyat was a porcelain dealer in Limoges who supplied the clay. The factory owed him so much money he became one of its partners and eventually he and his three sons took over.

According to Régine Plinval de Guillebon, this factory ranked among the three most important porcelain works in Paris by 1779, the others being Rue Thiroux and Clignancourt. They made the same type of objects as the famous (but much more expensive) Sèvres factory: a wide range table and tea wares and useful items such as writing sets, toilet articles and tobacco-related items. A variety of painted and gilded decoration was used from simple floral sprigs to elaborate Etruscan, neo-classical or other fashionable designs. The factory excelled in biscuit sculpture, not surprising perhaps as this was Russinger's speciality. They produced many different mythological, allegorical and family groups as well as individual subjects.

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