Discover story behind porcelain pros of the 1800s

gl-ceramics-talk-10-17Join porcelain scholar and museum educator Robert F. Doares, Jr. as he shares the  story of how upstart New Yorkers David and Daniel Haviland managed to take the European porcelain industry by storm in the 1800s, with an illustrated talk to be given on Nov. 11 at the Bruce Museum.

Mr. Doares and his wife, Barbara Myers Wood, are something of upstarts themselves, having made a profound impact in Haviland research, especially with the discovery of two factory production books from the earliest years of the Haviland porcelain works of Limoges, France.

The overlooked design book they found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York revealed that many anonymous pieces of “Old Paris” china in private and public collections are, in reality, Limoges porcelains designed, decorated and marketed by David Haviland, the American ceramic merchant who had settled in France in the 1840’s.

As the story goes, at first, David Haviland selected porcelains made and decorated by other companies and exported them to his brother, Daniel, in New York. But David saw creative and lucrative opportunity, and by 1847, he had opened his own studio in Limoges to design and decorate white hard-paste porcelain, and then manufactured the pieces according to his own specifications.

In only five years, other Haviland brothers joined the firm to help manage the fast-growing American distribution network. In 1852, the enterprise took a new name, Haviland Brothers and Company, with offices in New York.

The stunning quality of Haviland porcelain opened all eyes. At the company’s first public display of its wares at the New York Crystal Palace exhibition in 1853, Haviland Brothers shared the highest honors with the Sevres French Imperial Porcelain Manufactory. Success followed success with critical acclaim two years later at the Paris Exhibition. By that time, the company was already responsible for more than 50% of French porcelain exports to New York.

Discover the rest of the Haviland Brothers story at the Nov. 11 lecture, presented by the Connecticut Ceramics Study Circle, to be held at the Bruce Museum at 1:15 p.m. The lecture fee for non-members is $25.

As always, refreshments are included and served following all presentations. Reservations are not necessary. For information, call 914-921-0621 or write to [email protected]

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