Amongst the many shops in The Cajun Village is C & C Treasures, which is specializes in local and regional antiques. They have many lovely pieces, none more so than the set of Haviland China in the picture above. The pieces are absolutely gorgeous, so I thought it was worth a share. Here’s a brief history of David Haviland, the founder of Haviland China in the early 1840s, from the company’s website for you. He was a key figure in the development and history of porcelain china in France and the United States, and his company is still a leader in that field today:
“David Haviland was an American businessman from New York dealing with porcelain in 1839. One day his shop door opened and a customer came in carrying a small package that was not only to change David Haviland’s life, but was to have a profound effect on the whole china industry and on the china ware in thousands of American homes. He could tell at once that it had come from France. But from what part of France? Examine it as he did, the cup had absolutely no mark of identification. Familiar with imported china as he was, the cup baffled him. He had not the slightest notion of its source.
“Once David Haviland had seen the cup there was nothing to do but go in search of it. He came finally to the city of Limoges, where he found the match of his cup. That this china was made in Limoges was no accident. In 1765, in the quaint nearby town of St. Yriex, kaolin had been found. Kaolin is a very pure white clay known from time immemorial in China, that had enabled Chinese artisans through the centuries to make their rare and marvelous pottery. With excitement, satisfaction, and high hopes David Haviland arranged to export his long sought French china so that he could supply it in New York.
“It was from Limoges, then, that David Haviland began importing this fine French china. Unfortunately, however, his pleasure in realizing an ambition was to be short lived. French manufacturers whose factories were of limited capacity were unwilling to make American shapes and decorations. So David Haviland, loath to accept defeat, decided upon a bold step. He resolved to move to France, build a factory in Limoges, and there make china in accordance with his own ideas.
“Throughout the next years the Haviland factories devoted themselves to the production of functional china that continued to have extraordinary success. At the same time experimental work went on with ever higher standards of artistry and craftsmanship as its goals. When in 1873, three Frenchmen originated an important new process of decorating china, David Haviland was quick to realize its merits and with the resources at his command he considerably improved it. He engaged famous artists of their day and encouraged them to use their talents to make this new decorating a memorable achievement. Other experiments were successful, too, and it was the Havilands who introduced chromo lithographic decorations on porcelain, a method afterwards followed by practically every china manufacturer in the world. In the meantime, David Haviland’s son Theodore followed in his father’s steps.
“Shortly after 1890 Theodore Haviland built one of the largest and best factories in Limoges, and introduced every new method in machinery decorating, and firing. Skilful French china makers were placed in charge of manufacturing, great ceramic artists headed the decorating departments. Inheriting his father’s genius and enterprise, Theodore Haviland rapidly became a leader in the making of fine china.”
The factories still operate today in France and the United States, producing top-notch porcelain and other items.