Haviland China: A French-American Success Story

Haviland china is a type of fine china, porcelain, and luxury accessories that was produced by the Haviland & Co. factory in Limoges, France. The Haviland period dated from 1842, when David Haviland, an American businessman who moved to France to establish his own porcelain factory. He was a visionary entrepreneur who revolutionized the ceramic industry with his creativity and marketing skills. In this blog post, I will give you a brief overview of the history of Haviland china, from its foundation to its innovation.

The Foundation of Haviland China

David Haviland was born in 1814 in New York, into a family of merchants. He started his career as a china importer and exporter, traveling across Europe and selling various goods, such as porcelain, glassware, and textiles. In 1840, he saw a set of French porcelain that impressed him with its beauty and quality. He decided to find out where it was made, and discovered that it came from Limoges, a city in central France that had abundant deposits of kaolin clay, the essential ingredient for making hard-paste porcelain. He moved to Limoges in 1842, and founded his own porcelain factory, Haviland & Co., with the help of his brother Daniel and his partner Charles D. G. Field. He bought white porcelain blanks from local manufacturers, and hired his wife Mary and some local women to hand-paint them with floral motifs. He then sold his products to the American market, where they were very popular and appreciated1

The Success of Haviland China

Haviland’s china business grew rapidly and successfully, becoming one of the leading and most prestigious porcelain manufacturers in France and America. Haviland hired talented artists and designers, such as Félix Bracquemond, Jules Loebnitz, and Albert Dammouse, who created original and artistic decorations for the china. He also introduced new styles and motifs, such as the Rococo Revival, the Japanese, and the Art Nouveau, which reflected the changing tastes and trends of the 19th and 20th centuries. He also experimented with new and vibrant colors, such as the apple green, the turquoise, and the pink. Haviland’s china was highly sought after by the royal and aristocratic families, as well as the cultural and artistic elites, who commissioned and collected it as a sign of elegance and refinement. Haviland also received numerous awards and honors for his china, such as the Grand Prix at the Paris World Exhibition in 1867, the Gold Medal at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition in 1876, and the Grand Prix at the Paris World Exhibition in 18892

Haviland was not only a skilled potter, but also a savvy businessman and marketer. He used various strategies to promote and sell his products, such as direct mail, money-back guarantee, free delivery, celebrity endorsement, illustrated catalogues, and buy one get one free. He also created a network of showrooms and agents across America and Europe, where customers could see and buy his wares. He also invested in research and development, and collaborated with other artists and scientists, such as Louis Pasteur, Gustave Eiffel, and Thomas Edison. He also supported social causes, such as the abolition of slavery, the education of women, and the protection of animals3

The Innovation of Haviland China

Haviland died in 1879, leaving behind a thriving and successful business that was continued by his sons and descendants. The Haviland company survived and adapted to the challenges and changes of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as wars, economic crises, and artistic movements. It also faced competition from other porcelain factories, such as the Meissen in Germany and the Sèvres in France, which also produced fine and fashionable porcelain. However, the Haviland company innovated and diversified, and continued to produce high-quality and diverse china products, such as the bone china, the Parian ware, and the art pottery. It also merged and acquired other porcelain and glass companies, such as Theodore Haviland, Johann Haviland, and Lalique. It also became a cultural institution, which preserved and promoted the heritage and excellence of Haviland and French porcelain. It established a museum, a library, and a school, which offered various exhibitions and educational programs4

The Conclusion

Haviland china is a remarkable example of artistic achievement and innovation, which spans over a century and a half and reflects the history and culture of France and America. It is admired and valued by collectors and connoisseurs all over the world, who appreciate its beauty, quality, and diversity. It is also a living and evolving art form, which continues to produce new and original works, thanks to the talent and creativity of its artists and craftsmen. Haviland china is a French-American success story, which has become a national treasure and a universal delight.

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