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Antique French Limoges Oyster Plate

Antique French Limoges Oyster Plate


Dreamy and delicate, this Antique French Oyster Plate is truly a one-of-a-kind treasure! Made by Haviland & Co., one of France's most well-respected Limoges manufacturers, this decorative piece originates from the late 19th century, when impressing guests with a decadent plate of oysters was at the height of popularity.

Made of bright white porcelain with 5 oyster wells, the plate is decorated around its ruffled rim with finely detailed pink flowers on delicate, leafy stems. This exceptional plate has a distinctly local connection as it was made by Haviland especially for Chicago's long-shuttered tabletop retailer, Burley & Company.

This vary rare plate is sure take pride of place in any oyster plate collection! 

Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. In very good antique condition. Measures 7.75" in diameter.

Learn More About Burley & Co.

Established as a tabletop store in downtown Chicago in 1838, Burley & Co. would eventually grow to include a china decorating studio and a department store. This family-owned business was successful for a number of years and even included a "hotel department" that sold china to hotels and railroads in the late 1800s. 

After nearly a century in business and supplying some of the finest wares available, Burley & Co. closed its doors in 1923 when it was sold to a competing hotel supply company, Albert Pick & Co.

Learn More About Oyster Plates

Porcelain factories responded to the American passion for oysters by designing special plates on which to serve the delicacy, accompanied by silver-plated forks also designed for the purpose. During the long and lavish dinners characteristic of evening entertainment among the wealthy on the East Coast in the 1870s and 1880s, guests were frequently served their first course on oyster plates.

American and European porcelain factories met increasing affluence and elaborate dining etiquette with an extensive range of items designed for specific foods and beverages. Oyster plates represent one such refinement in response to a newly acquired taste for the shellfish.

*Additional Oyster Plate History courtesy of Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Learn More about Limoges Porcelain

Limoges porcelain designates hard-paste porcelain produced near the city of Limoges, France. This exquisite porcelain has been produced in Limoges since the late 18th century. 

The manufacturing of hard-paste porcelain at Limoges was first established in 1771 following the discovery of local supplies of kaolin and feldspar rock. These materials were used to produce hard-paste porcelain similar to Chinese porcelain which was very popular during that time.

The beautiful porcelain produced in the factories at Limoges caught the eye of the French Count of Artois. The Count was the brother of the French King Louis XVI, who later purchased those factories in 1784, making them royal manufacturers to the King.

After the French Revolution a number of private factories were established at Limoges, including the venerable Bernardaud and Haviland & Co. factories. To this day, Limoges continues to maintain the position it established in the 19th century as the premier manufacturing city of porcelain in France.

But what is Hard-Paste Porcelain?

Hard-paste porcelain is porcelain that is made from a compound of feldspathic rock and kaolin fired at very high temperatures. It was first made in China around the 9th century. The secret of hard-paste porcelain's manufacture was not known in Europe until 1707, when Johann Friedrich Böttger of Meissen, Germany discovered the formula. As the recipe was kept a trade secret by Böttger for his company, experiments continued elsewhere throughout Europe until 1712, when a French priest living and working in China discovered the Chinese technique and described the process in letters back to France.

Hard-paste porcelain is differentiated from soft-paste porcelain mainly by the firing temperature, with the former being higher, to around 2,550°F, and the latter to around 2,200°F. Depending on the raw materials and firing methods used, hard-paste porcelain can also resemble stoneware or earthenware. Hard-paste porcelain can also be utilized to make porcelain bisque, a type of porcelain. It is a translucent, bright, white ceramic. With it being almost impermeable to water it is unnecessary to glaze porcelain bisque.

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