Friday, January 30, 2015

Old Paris porcelain: A Gilt-y Pleasure

Like my Southern grandmother, I adore all things gilt, hand-painted and ornate. (Call it my gilt-y pleasure.) And “Old Paris” or “Vieux Paris” style porcelain fits the bill nicely.  

It turns out that shiploads of Old Paris works were purchased during the 1700s and 1800s by Southerners, with whom they were most popular among American collectors. While many pieces are unmarked, the larger factories would sign their names or leave a maker’s mark. Workshops included Edouard Honoré, Dagoty, Dihl and Guérard, Comte d’Artois, the Comte de Provence, John Nast, Duc d’Angoulême, Jacob-Petit and Darte Freres. (According to Bonhams, the vases above are probably Darte Frères and date to the first quarter of the 19th century.)
Such ornate works were produced by manufacturers in the city of Paris, as well as by those on the outskirts, and typically range in date from the mid-1700s through the end of the Second Empire in 1870. The Old Paris corbeille, above, is a fabulous example (dated circa 1840). Neo-classically styled, in the “navette” or boat form, it is graced by four gilt dolphins set within blue rope foliate bands on the base. (From Dolces Antiques Gallery at
This is a hand-painted, floral porcelain serving plate from the 19th century, done in the Old Paris style with each corner depicting a unique floral arrangement. Collectors say that, in some cases, this made them nimbler in reacting to changing styles. Why? Because Old Paris manufacturers not only competed with each other – they also had the Royal manufacture at Sèvres and dozens of factores in Limoges with which to contend.
These gorgeous covered casserole dishes seem perfect for a spring dinner party, such as Easter. (From GasLamp Antiques and Decorating Mall at
Some Old Paris pieces – particularly the vases – are too ornate even for my tastes. But how darling is this Old Paris shell with hand-painted gold decorations? (From CrystalBlueVintage at
Collectors who want to indulge in Old Paris works should put will want to this book in their library: Porcelain of Paris, 1770-1850 by R. de Plinval de Guillebon. It can be found at


Post a Comment