Category Archives: Pottery

“Unmarked Porcelain,Who Made It?”


A Paris Porcelain Plate

“Old Paris Porcelain” Plate

Unmarked 18th- & 19th-century porcelain is a puzzle to even long term Dealers and Collectors.  Attributing a piece can bring more one several conclusions the longer you look at it, each clue bringing either one step closer too an identification, or simply more confusion. It gets even more confusing if the design resembles a well known makers such as Meissen, Minton or Sevres.

There was one group among the potters of the late Napoleonic era until the Franco Prussian War |(1815-1871) in Europe who often did not mark their wares, located in Paris, France, home to several small porcelain factories and decorating shops producing  porcelain in the style of the Famous Sevres porcelain works.

A “Sevres” Porcelain Plate

Today these pieces produced or decorated by these smaller studios are called Paris or Old Pris Porcelain, after their location. These potteries located in Paris had to compete with the famous and well-established Royal Manufactory at Sevres, which enjoyed Royal patronage and financial support. They managed this by being quicker to adapt to new fashions in design and catering to the new and rising merchant class or the lesser nobility who wanted the status and look of Sevres porcelain, but at a price more pleasing to the pocket book.

Most reference sources indicate that as much as 70 percent of Paris porcelain made went without any company marks at all,  or as yet have not been identified and cataloged, which makes identifying these pieces today to a definitive maker almost impossible. Another factor that makes identification a problem is many of the decorating studios in Paris used blanks, called “white wares” made at Limoges or even by Sevres, but generally not marked with their origins until the late 19th century.

While the work of these Pareisain studios does not have the pedigree of those by Sevres, the quality of the decoration can be quite high, in some cases as good as any byt the big name porcealin makers of the same period. Myself, I consider Paris Porcelain to be quite a bargain, plates like the one shown often now sell at auction in the $150-$2oo range, compared to Sevres plates selling in the $300.00- $400.00 range.

Mike Wilcox

Wilcox& Hall Appraisers