Buying Limoges Boxes, What to Look For
Originals and Copies
There are several dozen companies that make Limoges boxes, but only a few are premier makers. A "premier" maker, a term that I use to differentiate, is one that makes the boxes from start to finish, such as Artoria, Parry Vieille, Du Barry, Chamart, Chanille, French Accents etc. You can learn a bit about a few of the companies that we buy from by going to our section called "The Makers". These makers originate boxes, i.e. design them, sculpt them, make the molds, etc. There are only just a few real "premier makers". Then there are a very few companies, such as S&D, who design their own boxes and then have them made by one of the premier makers just for them. Usually their boxes are very unique and, in the case of S&D, the quality of the boxes is exceptional as well as the design. (Many of our boxes in the furniture categories are from S&D.)
Most of the rest buy white ware and do the painting in shops sometimes as small as 1 person working alone, then they send the box out to have the metal frame and clasp fitted to it. When you see no company name on a back stamp, just an artists initials, that is usually how the box was done. And there are varying qualities in the white ware that is made. Just because it is marked Limoges doesn't make it top quality just as all of the cars that used to be made in Detroit were not all Lincolns or Cadillacs, there were Fords and Chevys made there as well.
1. Starting at the Base of the Box: Our box is done in relief with all sorts of detail, rocks, grass, flowers, a dimensional stone walk and a dimensional hayrick. The other box is done with no color, no detail at all, and is just painted brown over an uneven surface rather than a surface that is done with relief work. Our box has more than five colors used just in the base. The other box has one color used. Immediately that means that our box had to be fired at least 5 times to the one for this box just in regard to the base.
2. The Windmill: Most obvious, the blades of our windmill turn. The other does not. It is rigid.
3. The Mill Building: Ours is done completely in relief, every single stone is delineated and can be seen and felt. As well, they are all individually painted in such a way as to give them an aged look. The other is done with no relief at all on the building excepting for a tree that stands against it. The windows are painted and here and there are painted bricks. The entrance to our mill has steps that are dimensional and a front door that is in relief. The other mill has nothing except a few painted bricks as an arch to suggest an entrance. No steps at all.
4. The Roof of the Mill: Our roof was done in slate, bas relief, with a lot of detail in the painting as well. Notice the shading in the painting. There are more than 3 shades of blue used in our slate roof. The other roof is an even surface with no relief work at all and is done in red with daubs of grey here and there to suggest spaces between the tiles and here and there a black outline to suggest tiles.
5. Inside the Box: Inside of ours is view of a mill that stands near by. Inside of the other box is one stalk of wheat. Again, a difference of perhaps four colors used and perhaps an hour of painting.
6. Notice How Gross the other box is in comparison to ours. It is heavy and clunky looking. Ours is delicate as Limoges should be. Fine porcelain is able to be formed in great detail with sharply defined features and edges but that requires considerably more talent in the sculpting of the piece than is needed to do a blurred suggestion of the same thing.
This should give you some idea of what to look for when you are buying Limoges boxes. Take a really good look at our catalog and you will see some of the finest examples of Limoges porcelain boxes anywhere. No one is more particular than we are about quality.CLICK HERE to go to the catalog now!
Limoges Box Markings
The Limoges Boxes Book
Meet the Makers