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ORLEANS CHINA - 1753-1811

HISTORY. The Orleans porcelain factory, under Sieur Gerreault, began its career in 1753 with the Duc de Penthievre as its patron, the same nobleman whom we have already met extending his protective interest to the factory at Sceaux, although his patronage at Sceaux was not exercised till many years later.

This venture was authorised by the Council of State and was distant far enough from Paris not to be perpetually harassed by the opposition of neighbouring com petitors and claimants of exclusive privileges. Up until 1770 the factory produced soft paste porcelain; after that date all its products were of hard paste. The factory continued in operation until IgII, it is known certainly, and may have gone on for some years longer. A good deal of china must have been produced, but it was very fragile. Consequently, it is comparatively rare.

THE BODY. The Orleans soft paste body was highly vitreous, very translucent, white in color, and of beautiful quality. The hard paste body used after 1770 was extremely vitreous or glassy at first and exceptionally brittle, but the composition later became more satisfactory.

THE GLAZE. The glaze on both the soft paste and the hard paste bodies was very brilliant and glassy and lacked the sympathetic mellowness displayed by the glazes of such factories as Chantilly, Mennecy, or Sceaux.

ARTICLES MADE AND CONTOUR. Table services, tea, coffee and chocolate sets, and pieces of kindred use composed the principal output, although a certain number of statuettes and vases were also produced. The contours were chiefly of European character, well shaped, and with all the moulded details impeccably designed and executed. During the hard paste period the prevalent Neo-Classic forms made their appearance.

TYPES OF DECORATION. In the soft paste period the decorations were often in the form of scattered flowers done in underglaze blue. The other type chiefly employed consisted of bouquets, knots and garlands painted in polychrome and enriched with gilding. During the hard paste period scattered flowers and garlands composed the usual decorative motifs and gilding was also used.

THE MARKS. The marks of the early period consist of a label above the letter C. At some time early in the nineteenth century the mark became a round vignette with the word "Orleans. " It was applied in gold or in onglaze color.

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