Featuring Jacques Pergay Porcelains
Jacques Pergay Porcelains is located just outside of Aixe sur Vienne, on the Perigord-Limousin Free road in Limoges, France. The father-daughter team, Jacques and Aurelie Pergay, pride themselves in perpetuating an ‘absolute all-white’ theme. Each and every creation is manufactured in-house and is 100% handmade. No machine is used at any stage. The practice of producing these very creations is one that dates back to the 18th century, initiated by Payout.
When designing a new collection, aside from pride and joy, there is an additional component of perfectionism seen there as well. “To make it superb means luxurious, and no piece is delicate enough.” “Porcelain is like chocolate … meleable, fragile and delicate until cooked.” Tableware, decorative objects (candleholders & vases), and even furniture with porcelain inserts are all produced by the manufacturer.
The History of Limoges
Limoges is the capital of the Haute-Vienne department in West Central France and is situated about 230 miles southwest of Paris. In the late 18th century, it was discovered that deposits of kaolin existed in that region. Kaolin is a key material that is used in the production of fine porcelain. It was in Limoges, therefore, that an industry specializing in the making of porcelain was born.
Eventually, many manufacturers made porcelain in Limoges. One of the early pioneers was the Payout family. Pierre Payout had established a faience manufacturing company in Saint-Yreix around 1760. Faience was a glazed ceramic, known as a tin-glazed earthenware similar to the maiolica made in Italy during the Renaissance. In the early 1800s, the Payout family opened a porcelain factory in Paris and did not bring the company to Limoges until 1842. The Payout Family was a major exporter of porcelain wares to the United States and sent over both decorated and ‘undecorated wares’, called blanks. The blanks were used extensively in America by decorating studios and amateur artists.
Limoges porcelain is known for its high quality due to the many important factors that impact production. Porcelain clays are denser and thus less porous than ceramic clays. While both materials are fired at high temperatures, porcelain is fired at even higher temperatures and for a longer period of time. There is greater flexibility with the porcelain when it comes to design, as the clay that is used to make porcelain is more refined and purified. It is therefore fair to say that porcelain is sometimes considered more durable and better suited for heavy usage.
Porcelain is denser than ceramic, which means it has a slower absorption rate. Whether ceramic or porcelain, both have a PEI rating which explains how resistant the glazed surface is to scratching and chipping. The lower the rating, the higher the chance the product will scratch and chip more easily.
Today, the city of Limoge's porcelain workshops employ more than 10,000 people. True collectors are most interested in the French Limoges made before 1930.