|Antiques Digest||Browse Auctions||Appraisal||Home|
TOURNAY CHINA - 1750
HISTORY. Although Tournay is now in Belgium, the products of the Tournay factory are included under the head of French china because Tournay was under French rule when the porcelain made there won its reputation.
Peterinck began making porcelain at Tournay in 1750, and the work prospered so much that a few years later the factory employed a large force of work-people and put forth a very considerable volume of wares. There were two grades of china produced at Tournay, one including pieces of the finest character that could compare favourably with the output of any of the other French porcelain factories, the second being inexpensive and well calculated for all ordinary domestic use. Both kinds were produced simultaneously over a considerable period, but after a number of years the finer grade was discontinued. The ordinary grade is still made there.
THE BODY. The soft paste body of Tournay china was of somewhat different composition from that used at the French factories already considered, and it required a much shorter time for firing. In color it has not the noticeable yellowish or amber tinge characteristic of the Chantilly or Mennecy body, but it is not so white as the soft paste body of Vincennes or Sevres. It is also somewhat more porous in texture than the others.
While the usual processes of moulding and throwing were followed in shaping the pieces at Tournay, the process of casting was also used. This process, it is believed, was first employed in the Tournay factory.
THE GLAZE. The Tournay glaze is clear, transparent beautifully smooth and evenly distributed, without runnings or "tear-drops.
ARTICLES MADE AND CONTOUR. Amongst the articles of the finer ware were vases, flower-pots, tableware and table garnitures, tea, coffee and chocolate services, candlesticks, sconces, and the sundry elegancies of equipment for writing and dressing tables. The second grade included table services also, and all the articles of everyday domestic utility for which porcelain was suitable. In the matter of contour, both Oriental and European models afforded a basis for adaptation.
TYPES OF DECORATION. One of the most favourite types of decoration consisted of flowers, either scattered in the Dresden manner or else grouped in sprays and more organised compositions. These were very carefully executed, and the factory was particularly fortunate in the use of an excellent iron oxide red.
When the fashions set by Sevres had become allprevalent, the Tournay decorators followed suit with admirable ground colours and polychrome motifs in re serve. The Tournay factory was successful not only in producing a good underglaze bleu du roi but also in imitating other items of Sevres embellishment, such as the "partridge eye" device, diapers and reticulations of gold, and birds of brilliant plumage along with the floral motifs and ribbon patterns.
Little landscapes and woodland scenes in the pastoral manner of the day were largely made use of as well as figures, the latter in the form of cherubs or amorini or else as compositions based on Classic precedents. Both landscapes and figure subjects often appeared en camaieu, as a rule, however, in conjunction with a certain amount of gilding.
The commoner wares were chiefly decorated with flowers, either scattered or arranged in sprays or connected garlands. These decorations were executed, for the most part, in blue, although polychrome painting was employed to some extent.
THE MARKS. The mark of the finer grade of Tournay china consisted of two crossed swords accompanied by four crosses, and was applied either with gold or in on glaze colour. The inferior grade bore only workmen's individual marks or some factory symbol indicating the pattern of the piece.