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Limoges Porcelain - Manufacturing Process

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Limoges History

Porcelain Process

 


 Limoges porcelain manufacture is extremely complex and demands meticulous workmanship.  Limoges porcelain is a result of a mix of various components delicately measured and successively fired at a very high temperature. A piece of Limoges porcelain often requires up to 30 processes starting with the extraction of the raw material to the final stage of decoration. The cornerstone of Limoges Porcelain lies in the combination of advanced modern techniques,  high quality materials and superb craftsmanship.

haviland and parlon begalis

An example of the magnificent end product

Ingredients of Limoges Porcelain


Kaolin clay - Gives the whitening and plastic quality.
Quartz - Allows the solidity of the piece.
Feldspath - Gives the porcelain it's translucence.

Casting


Casting is the  creation of the shape. The process begins by pouring the mixed liquid into deep molds that have been formed to produce a particular design. When the liquid becomes solid the excess is discarded. The layer shaped around the contours of the mold is the piece itself.


The piece is then hand cleaned of to eliminate imperfections. Then additions are made to the original form by the way handles or other objects that can be attached to the piece. The additional objects are glued into place and then the whole piece is fired at 980 degrees C in order to dehydrate the porcelain. After the cooling, the piece becomes porous and it is cleaned and prepared for enameling.

art persan by Haviland and Parlon

An example of this superb craftsmanship

Firing


This operation is carried out by spraying or immersing of the pieces of liquid enamel followed by  "high fire" that brings the material to a melting point of 1400 degrees C. The porcelain is then glazed and undergoes a reduction of volume of about 12%. When it comes out of the kiln, the pieces have differences and slight irregularities that are inevitable yet illustrate the authenticity of individually crafted Limoges porcelain. No two pieces of Limoges porcelain are ever identical. At this point, the porcelain can be sold as "white porcelain" or enter the next process called decoration..

The Limoges Porcelain Decoration Process


There are many different processes of decoration. Each requires top quality craftsmen using experience gathered over many years. In all cases, the process is to apply glazed colors and sometimes precious metals to the porcelain. Once fired at the different temperature, they will adhere perfectly to the enamel of the porcelain.


The most commonly used method is the transfer by chromolithography. It is achieved by the application on the porcelain of a special sheet that is placed in the desired area, on the pieces to be decorated. The sheets are initially created by offsetting printing or serigraphy. Sometimes the pieces that are decorated this way are complemented with a simple design using a brush.


The most desirable and the most expensive method, is the hand made design. It is the creation, by ink-pin, and/or the brush designs that are more complex, and often recreated from old models or born from the designers imagination.

Jardins de Paradis by Haviland and Parlon

An example of the exquisite end product

All the above Robert Haviland and C. Parlon  Limoges Porcelain can be viewed and purchased at:-

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Robert Haviland and C. Parlon Limoges Porcelain, & Gifts
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