We are featuring a striking, hand painted pitcher produced by the Jean Pouyat Limoges factory very close to the turn of the 20th century. Often referred to as a lemonade or cider pitcher, this antique piece is decorated in the Art Nouveau style and depicts fruit – probably peaches or apricots – hanging amidst leaves on the branches of a tree. The artwork is very distinctive. The predominant background color of the pitcher is dark green at the base fading to lighter green shades towards the rim. The color borders and all the items depicted on the pitcher have first been hand drawn in black enamel, and then the border colors, as well as the details of the branches, leaves and fruit were filled in by the artist. The overall effect is striking and quite unique.
Our pitcher is 5-1/2” tall and rests on a 4-5/8” diameter base. It measures 7-7/8” from the tip of the spout to the end of the handle. Based on the backstamp found on the pitcher (see our photograph) this piece was likely produced between 1898 and 1902, making it around 120 years old. It is in excellent shape for such an old piece, with only light wear to the gold on the rim commensurate with its extreme age. There are no other scratches, cracks, chips or other issues that affect the quality of this fine piece.
BRIEF HISTORY: The Pouyat family’s long and renowned history in French pottery and porcelain began with a faience manufacturing company in Saint-Yrieix in 1760. The family soon expanded from this original business concern: One of the sons, Francois Pouyat (1752 - 1838), purchased clay deposits and clay works in the Haute-Vienne region, and also became a partner in a hard paste manufacturing business at the Locre factory in Paris. Eventually, Francois and his two sons, Leonard and Jean-Baptiste became sole owners of this factory, which they sold in 1823. In addition, the two Pouyat sons, Leonard and Jean-Baptiste, formed a partnership with a factory in Fours to produce porcelain to be decorated in Paris. The brothers bought this factory outright in 1820, and Leonard Pouyat directed operations until his death 1845.
In the midst of these thriving concerns, Pére Francois Pouyat opened a small factory in Limoges in 1832, and shortly thereafter bought a clay works and porcelain workshop in Saint-Leonard, near Limoges. Jean-Baptiste joined his father at this operation and, in 1840 succeeded him as head of operations. He enlarged the Limoges factory, employing nearly 130 workers, and proceeded to make porcelain of exceptional whiteness and even texture. Pieces produced and decorated at the Limoges factory were renowned for their artistry and elegance. Eventually, William Guerin purchased the Pouyat Limoges factory in 1911, continuing the factory’s reputation for artistry and elegance.
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