Antique Limoges China: Iconic Marks, Patterns, & More

There are dozens of antique Limoges china marks and thousands of patterns, so you have a lot to catch up on. Never fear — our guide can get you up to speed.

Updated June 10, 2024
Old china cup with saucer, pattern blue bells

The delicate beauty of antique Limoges china dinnerware is unparalleled in an already chef's kiss level of artistry. Highly sought after by china collectors, antique limoges pieces are something you don't want to pass up on. From Limoges china's marks to their iconic patterns, there are a few excellent ways you can identify some old Limoges pieces from across a crowded antique store. 

What Is Limoges China?

Antique Haviland Limoges Cocoa Cup and Saucers

Interestingly, Limoges doesn't refer to a specific manufacturer but to the area in France where the fine porcelain pieces were produced. Launched in the 18th century, Limoges china came out of kaolin, a traditional Chinese style of porcelain making from antiquity. Because the raw material kaolin was discovered in France, French manufacturers were able to replicate this ancient art. 

Need to Know

Limoges china is distinct because no two pieces are alike thanks to the firing and production process. 

Famous Limoges China Production Companies 

The first pieces of Limoges dinnerware were made in the Sèvres porcelain factory and were marked with royal crests. In 1759, King Louis XV took full control of the factory in order to produce royal porcelain dinnerware. This practice continued until the factory was nationalized after the French Revolution.

Sèvres might be the most famous because of its monarchial connections, but there were about 27 other Limoges china factories scattered throughout France. Some of them include: 

  • Bernardaud and Company
  • Charles Tharaud
  • Coiffe
  • Flambeau
  • Guerin-Pouyat-Elite LTD
  • Haviland
  • JP&L
  • A. Lanternier & Co.
  • Laviolette
  • Martial Reardon
  • Martin Frères
  • Paroutaud Frères
  • Serpaut
  • The Elite Works
  • Tressemann & Vogt (T&V)

How to Identify Limoges China Marks Using Hallmarks 

Antique 1906-1920 French Limoges Coronet Hand Painted Porcelain Covered Serving Dish

The easiest way to determine whether a piece of china is a true Limoges antique is by looking for a few different marks on the bottom. You can find these marks not only on dinnerware and vases but on keepsake boxes as well. There are three important marks to look for: the French government mark, the different manufacturer's marks, and artists' signatures. 

Limoges Maker's Marks to Look For 
French Government Mark
Manufacturer's Marks 
Artist's Signatures 

Related: Antique Dish Values: Everything You Need to Know

French Government Marks

Given that Limoges is a major French enterprise, you can sometimes find official marks from the French government on the pieces. This mark will most often be a circle that says "Limoges Goût de Ville." If there's no official mark, you may see a "L" for Limoges.

Manufacturer's Marks

Another, more common, type of mark you find on antique Limoges china is a manufacturer's mark. A studio or manufacturer's mark designates what company crafted the piece, and since there were multiple different Limoges manufacturers operating at the same time, these marks can be important identifiers.

Some common factory marks are:

  • The Royal Monogram: Louis XIV's factory used the royal monogram, or cipher, with a crown image as their mark.
  • Allund Factory marks: "AE" was the Allund factory's mark from 1797 to 1868. 
  • Haviland Factory marks from 1868-1898: CHF, CHF/GDM or CH Field Haviland, Limoges were the Haviland factories' marks from 1868 to 1898.
  • Haviland Factory marks post-1898: Porcelaine, Haviland & Co. Limoges, GDA, H&CO/Depose, H&CO/L, or Theodore Haviland, Limoges, France were the Haviland factories' marks after 1898.
  • Smaller Factory marks: Some smaller factory marks were simply names such as "M. Redon" (1853), "A. Lanternier" (1885), and "C. Ahrenfeldt" or "France C.A. Depose" (1886).
  • Elite Works marks: "Elite France" or "Elite Works France" was the mark for Elite Works. Beginning in 1892, it was in black, but it switched to red from 1900 to 1914 and to green from 1920 to 1932.
  • Latrille Frères' mark: Latrille Frères' mark was a star with a circle that said L I M O G E S and "France."
  • Martin Frères mark: Martin Frères also didn't use their name as their mark. Instead, their mark was a bird with a ribbon with "France" printed on an area of the ribbon.
  • R. Laporte's mark: R. Laporte's mark was the "RL/L" with the symbol of a butterfly.
  • Coronet's mark: Coronet's mark was a crown with the name "Coronet" in either blue or green.

Artist Names

You may also see the artist's name who hand painted the piece in addition to a stamp that says it was hand painted. As a French company, these notations were written in French. 

  • Paint main: This means the piece was hand-painted.
  • Decor main: This means the piece was partially hand-painted.
  • Rehausse main: This means that only the highlights were added by hand.

Related: Handy Guide to Pyrex Identification Marks, Patterns, & Value

Beware Limoges Reproduction Marks

Like any popular porcelain company, Limoges has its fair share of convincing fakes. These marks can be deceptive to even a trained eye if you're not extremely knowledgeable of Limoges porcelain history and their various marks.

Common reproduction marks will say:

  • T&V Limoges France
  • Limoges China, ROC

How to Identify Limoges China Using Patterns 

In addition to the marks on the bottom of the porcelain pieces, you can also use the china patterns to determine if you've got a genuine antique Limoges. Due to the sheer number of studios and manufacturers, there are a plethora of patterns to consider. Often named and assigned a number for convenience and organization, these patterns are usually the first thing you notice about an antique piece of Limoges. 

A. Lanternier Patterns

A. Lanternier used scrolling floral patterns on a white background along with gold or silver trim on the edges of their pieces. Pattern names were often included next to the company's mark, such as "Empress," "Brabant" or "Fougere Idienne." They were also known for some war motifs related to World War I called the La Grande Guerre Dessins de Job.

Fast Fact

Some Limoges patterns were specially ordered, like this Renoir pattern from Jacqueline Kennedy's dinner service. 

Coronet Limoges Patterns

Antique 1906-1920 French Limoges Coronet Hand Painted Porcelain Covered Serving Dish

Common Coronet Limoges patterns included nature motifs and hunting scenes featuring waterfowl and other game birds, fish, and game animals. They also often featured flowers, especially roses, and fruit such as grapes. Gold trim on the rims and scalloped edges were also a frequent design aspect. 

Take this lovely gold-trimmed violet-patterned Coronet serving bowl from 1910. It recently sold on eBay for $95. 

Haviland China Patterns

There are approximately 60,000 Haviland china patterns, and many weren't named, especially before 1926. This is where the Haviland collector community comes in handy. You can find examples of Haviland patterns in collectors books available through dealers and collectors, as well as the Haviland Collectors International Foundation.

A Schleiger number is a number that was assigned to each pattern by the Schleiger family — Haviland dealers who cataloged all the Haviland designs. For example, this antique set of Theodore Haviland bowls that went for $725 on eBay was assigned the Schleiger number 146. 

Haviland patterns often featured floral designs with gold trim, but the variation in colors with even the same pattern was extensive.

Limoges Stands Out From the Rest 

There's a lot of antique china out there, but Limoges has its own unique hallmarks and patterns to help it stand out from the rest. Whether you're new to collecting antique china or this is your first time branching into Limoges territory, you should feel armed and ready to take any antique store by storm. 

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Antique Limoges China: Iconic Marks, Patterns, & More