Sèvres Manufactory

Datesfounded 1756
RolesArtist, Maker, Manufacturer

In 1756 the porcelain manufactory that had been founded at Vincennes was transferred to the town of Sèvres. Three years later the king, Louis XV, became the principal shareholder and financial backer and had the factory designated the "Royal Porcelain Manufactory." The factory thus came under the control of the royal administration and focused on manufacturing luxury porcelain mainly for the royal family, the court, and the aristocracy.

Hard-paste porcelain was not made at Sèvres until the late 1760s, when deposits of the vital ingredient kaolin (china clay) were found in Limoges, France. Until that time, Sèvres produced wares of soft-paste porcelain. Numerous artists collaborated in the production of a single piece of porcelain, and many left their personal identification marks incised in the paste or painted over the glaze. In addition to the marks of individual craftsmen, Sèvres wares carry marks identifying them as products of the royal manufactory. Soft-paste porcelain was marked with painted crossed L's enclosing a date letter: A indicating 1753, B for 1754, and so on. When the alphabet had been exhausted in 1777, it was begun again using double letters. Hard-paste porcelain was marked in the same way, with the addition of a small crown above the crossed L's.