Vincennes porcelain  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Vincennes porcelain manufactory was established in 1740 in the disused royal Château de Vincennes, in Vincennes, east of Paris.

The entrepreneur in charge, Claude-Humbert Gérin, established workshops and employed craftsmen from the Chantilly manufactory, whose patron, the duc de Bourbon, had recently died.

Aside from tea wares and dinner services, and decorative vases, often in imitation of Meißen porcelain— "in the style of Saxony, painted and gilded and depicting human figures" the warrant later granted by Louis XV ran— the Vincennes manufactory specialized in making naturalistic flowers, which were incorporated into bouquets or in flower sprays added to cut-glass-hung gilt-bronze chandeliers under the direction of Parisian marchands-merciers, who alone were permitted to combine the production of so many separate craft guilds. Gifted sculptors were contracted to provide models for table sculptures, and a white, matte "bisque" ware imitating white marble, was introduced in 1751. In 1757 Étienne Maurice Falconet was appointed director of the sculpture atelier, when Vincennes became a manufacture royale de porcelaine. The silversmith Jean-Claude Duplessis designed vases for Vincennes embodying the robust yet balanced French Rococo. New glaze colors were developed at Vincennes, bleu céléste, a rich sky blue, bleu turquoise, the "Turkish" blue that fixed the color name in European languages, and the dark bleu lapis which might be overlaid with traces of gilded veining. Enamel painting was applied over the fired glazes, and at Vincennes its techniques began to approach that of miniatures. The Vincennes workshops perfected the art of gilding applied over the already-fired glazes then re-fired at a lower temperature, to offer luxury wares of a sophistication never before seen in France.

The Vincennes porcelain factory continued under the personal patronage of Madame de Pompadour, shifted to new premises at Sèvres, west of Paris, until 1759, when, with the enterprise threatening to go bankrupt, the king bought it outright, initiating the career of world-famous Sèvres porcelain, which was a direct outgrowth of Vincennes. The procedure of introducing datemarks, and painters' and gilders' marks, which has made a detailed understanding of individual styles of Sèvres possible, was initiated at Vincennes, in 1753.





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