Antique French Porcelain Information - Collecting Chantilly French Porcelain

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French Porcelain of Chantilly

  Antique French  Porcelain

Antique  Porcelain

St. Cloud French Porcelain

Chantilly French Porcelain

Well known antique French porcelain of Chantilly in the red dragon pattern

French Chantilly jug with Kakiemon style decoration, c 1735

Chantilly figure with Kakaiemon style in rococo manner with painted swirls, c 1730

French Porcelain Chantilly cachepot by Fraisse, painter to the Duc de Conde

Now, as antique French porcelain collectors, many of us regard our antiques and porcelain collection as a hobby which at times one spouse or another might be quick to interject, "more like an obsession." Well, the French Prince de Conde had a little hobby or obsession of his own in collecting Japanese and Chinese ceramics, and was curious, as were other European nobelmen and craftsmen, how to produce his own French porcelain collection. He, Louis Henri de Bourbon, established the first Chantilly porcelain factory in 1725 as an extension of his hobby, and was greatly influenced by the oriental wares. Some of the most famous French porcelain pieces are from Chantilly. 

The factory is most famous for its French porcelain pieces painted in the Kakiemon style, especially between the years of 1725 and 1740, but Chantilly did not have access to the kaolin used to make the Prince's prized Kakiemon porcelain. Instead it was a frit porcelain, an artifical soft paste porcelain, that was softer and damaged more easily, limiting the size and shapes that could be used in the Chantilly factory, but its refractive quality gave their porcelain wares a beautiful luminous effect. Meissen porcelain, as well as French silver, was also influencial in the the Chantilly designs. One popular Chantilly pattern copied from Meissen porcelain is that of the red dragon of Meissen, called the Prince Henri pattern, about 1730. This French porcelain in the Kakiemon style with panels in yellow ground was almost certainly inspired from Meissen, and of very high quality. In 1792, an Englishman, Christopher Potter, who had previously owned a hard paste factory in Paris, took over the factory until the mid 1790's, and it was in the years prior to 1780 that the soft paste porcelain of which Chantilly is most widely known was made.

The appearance, decoration, and distinctively smooth feel of early Chantilly porcelain is unmistakalbe, and the quality is verred as exemplary by antique French porcelain collectors around the world. The early Chanitlly porcelain was a fine porcelain distinguished by a white, opaque tin glaze similar to faience or delftware glaze with a beautiful milky whiteness and smoothness that is "without parallel in the history of porcelain." But, this exquisite tin glaze is considered to have ended in about 1735 with few found after this date. This is considered a turning point in the production of Chantilly porcelain, for French porcelain wares after this time, and definitely around 1750, are recognized as a soft fine quality porcelain with the normal creamy, slightly yellow lead glaze.

Although many of Chantilly's French porcelain pieces were left unmarked, the Chantilly hunting horn remained in use as a mark throughout the existence of the soft paste manufacture. There is broad distinction in the red enamel horn mark of the earlier period and the blue enamel and underglaze blue of the later period, but these cannot be used exclusively in dating the wares. Occasionally, black and gold were used to mark the earlier pieces and crimson red for the later. On some later porcelain figures, the word Chantilly can be found written in blue with sprigs in underglaze blue, and are also commonly marked with initials, numerals and cryptic signs. Although the porcelain modeler cannot be decerned from the these marks, later less interesting wares may have incised names of modelers or throwers, for example, Bonnefoy, Gabin or Duchene.

Due to an edict that forbade competition with the Royal factory at Vincennes, few elaborate wares were made at Chantilly after 1755. One of the finest services produced after this time is painted with flowers on a ground of a blue and gilted trellis pattern. In the last important period of the factory (about 1755 to 1780), simple and often very attractive wares were made in quantity. Plates, decorated mostly in underglaze blue with slight patterns, namely the 'rose', 'tulip', and 'pink', have survived in great quantity. The late Chantilly polychrome pieces usually have a brown or yellow edge. And, the small 'cornflower' sprig in green, blue and pink was probably one of the latest patterns produced.

Collectors beware of the Samson Factory copies, which greatly outnumber Chantilly! The Samson Factory is known for its production of numerous quality copies of Chantilly French porcelain pieces, complete with the red hunting horn mark. Samsom porcelain is of high quality in its own right, but is worth far less than the original Chantilly pieces, and is shunned by many for lack of integrity in its markings.






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