Monday, April 27, 2009

The Makers - Chamart

Chamart was founded by Charles Martine in the early 1950's. The name is derived from a combination of Mr. Martine's first & last names. In 1965, Chamart designed a collection of Limoges Boxes for Tiffany & Co. which became immensely popular and introduced the American public to the Limoges box.

Martine’s marked taste, devotion to crafting quality, and insistence that each piece be meticulously handpainted from start to finish, made the Limoges Box become a product for which Chamart is now world famous.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Importers - Rochard

Limoges is like champagne - both are associated with the ultimate in quality, brought out on celebratory occasions when only the very best will do.
But while sparkling wines are made in many parts of the world, only those born and bottled in the Champagne region of France are legally allowed to be called Champagne. Thus, while porcelain is made in many countries, only porcelain made in the Limoges region in west-central France may be called Limoges.

Rochard has been importing Limoges Boxes to the US
since 1973 and claim to be the first to introduce the idea of placing little surprises inside the box. There are exclusive designs and color pigments only created for Rochard. The emphasis on attention to detail, superior painting and workmanship including the hinge and latch set Rochard pieces apart from other Limoges boxes. Rochard pieces are some of the best quality pieces. Consistency is of the utmost importance when it comes to Rochard Limoges boxes. Collectors know and see the difference in the painting on a Rochard Limoges box.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Camille Le Tallec

Camille Le Tallec took over the familial hand painted porcelain studio in Paris after graduating from the Ecole de Louvre 1n 1929. For thirty years he continued in the tradition of Vincennes and Sevres porcelain creating treaures for famous individuals such as Queen Elizabeth II and King Mohammed V of Morroco. In 1961, one year prior to his death, Tallec started a fruitful collaboration with Tiffany & Co. Each piece is marked with a L & T motif with two sets of letters. The upper part is a dating code indicating the date of production and the lower code is the initials of the piece's painter. This pretty piece with a ballet motif is dated 1993.
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Fabergé Limoges Boxes

You may recognize Fabergé as the Russian company famous for making those fabulous jeweled eggs for the Russian Czars. Today, the modern Faberge company reproduces those famous eggs acheiving a quality rarely seen elsewhere.
Fabergé Eggs made in France of Limoges porcelain for The House of Fabergé are designed and completed in the Fabergé workshops. The example provided is retired, the metalwork is sterling silver, plated with 24k gold. The quartz clock has a Swiss movement. The little gadget in the top of the egg very cleverly would hold the egg open to display the timepiece, if desired, or would fold inside to close the egg completely. This particular design came in several colors: blue, pink, green & yellow and retailed in the $500 range.
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Friday, April 10, 2009

The Designer - Fiona Saunders

In the late 1990's British Artist Fiona Saunders, famous for her art prints featuring elaborate ladies' shoes, was asked to design a series of shoes for Limoges Boxes. The result is a stunning collection embellished with an array of fabric & faux stones. Each design was produced in limited quantities of 300.

Fiona Saunders was born in 1965 in Harrow, England. She was educated in London at St. Martens School of Art and at the Royal College of Art, England's most prestigious post graduate art College. Since then she has worked as an illustrator and graphic designer.

To produce her series of shoes as art, Saunders traveled to historic homes of shoemaking such as Northampton, England where she found an inspiring collection of shoes. She also studied the works of twentieth century masters including Vivier, Blahnik and Ferragamo, paying homage in her work to the many artists and artisans throughout the ages who have inspired her.
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Artists - Francoise Vialard

Françoise Vialard has an outstanding international reputation in the world of porcelain painting.
She was schooled from childhood by her grandmother, a water colorist, and at 14 she began study at an art school in Paris. Her talent for porcelain painting was discovered in this period and it ultimately became her primary focus.
In her studio in the 7th Arrondissement she works alone and designs and paints each piece herself. Her colors are more subtle than most and she achieves a depth of color and glaze that very few others attempt. She fires a piece, in the course of painting, as many as four times in order to achieve the colors that are her ultimate goal. Few ateliers will do this because each firing puts the porcelain at risk but she is willing to risk the destruction of a piece to bring it to the level of perfection that she demands of her own work.
If you study her pieces you will notice the exquisite detailing, the layer upon layer of color to arrive at the depth that her pieces have, the originality of her designs and the strong sense of antiquity that pervades all of her work. Like the miniaturists who painted portraits on porcelain in the 17th and 18th centuries, to Madame Vialard concern for detail is everything.
She is quite innovative in her overall approach to porcelain miniature objects and it was she who first designed a Limoges box with a working timepiece in it as well as being the first to place a music movement into a Limoges box. She was also the artist who revived the fashion of the tiny 'perfume boxes' which were so sought after in the 18th century. Her perfumes boxes are extraordinary today. They are far and away the most imaginative and the most beautiful in the market place.
Madame Vialard's mark is: "Peint Main" in script, her signature "F Vialard, Limoges" in script, France, in print. The mark is black in its entirety.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Makers - Sinclair Limoges

Sinclair is an importer & distributor of fine Limoges Porcelain. Sinclair's founder & president, Hughes Longelin-Pingle has been at the helm since 1995. He has been a passionate collector of Limoges Boxes for over 10 years and personally owns every number 1 of all the limited edition Boxes Sinclair has created. Sinclair also creates fine dinnerware & jewelry boxes.

Here is the lovely Marilyn Monroe, note the special attention to the detail on her face and the hue of her skin. This is a fine example of an exquisite mold, artistry and detail. The chain around her neck is real, and the clasp adds to the overall effect with the delicate fan shaped filigree.

This particular box was created in 2000 and is numbered 18 of a total of 750 created. The black sunglasses inside add a bit of movie star whimsy.

Sinclair is based in Hollywood, Florida and has a great deal of boxes with themes influenced by the United States.

Currently, I have two Sinclair boxes in my booth at Bonanzle, both with limited quantities of 750.

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Welcome to My Blog

I cannot recall when or why I became fascinated with French Limoges Boxes. It all started with a self indulgent moment in 2005 when I decided to search for an affordable one on eBay. I found a tiny black and tan dachshund ( another passion of mine, more on that sometime later). I ended up bidding and viola the beginning of an addictive collection. Well, several months later, I had accumulated quite a few so I decided to try selling one. The one I decided to sell was a pretty pink floral pillow shape that spun around on my shelf and I was afraid it would break. That $25 box ended up selling for almost $100. I was hooked! That led to several good years on eBay, achieving PowerSeller status and opening a store, but I recently became frustrated with the venue, high fees and DSR's among other things ( I will go into THAT someday, too!) . The fun was gone.
In December 2008 I found the best Christmas present ever, Bonanzle, a new selling format just launched several months earlier with a supportive grassroots community, chat features and founders that have a vision to make selling & buying online fun again. I set up my 'booth' uploaded to Google Base, joined Plumdrop, Linkreferral & Facebook. Then I started Twittering and now decided to Blog. Why? Several reasons, one being that there is very little published reference material on Limoges Boxes. I have accumulated a lot of information which I would like to share. Second, I would like to network with others that share similar interests such as collecting, online selling, and of course, Limoges Boxes. I have a vision for this blog which will most likely grow and change with time, just as we all do.