Published 24th January 2013
A Chantilly porcelain beaker circa 1740-50 (FS17/122)
Like other European royalty, Louis-Henri de Bourbon the Prince de Conde was a collector of Kakiemon porcelain, but as luck would have it he met, in 1725, an ex employee of the Saint Cloud manufactory called Cirou who ‘knew the recipe’. So having plenty of cash and the secret to making porcelain the prince was free to make as much Japanese porcelain as he liked from his chateau in Chantilly. In 1735 he applied for a privilege, which can’t have pleased Saint Cloud too much, but being ‘family’ the prince got one. A moot point really as Saint Cloud made imitation Chinese and the privilege granted to Chantilly was for imitation Japanese porcelain.
A Chantilly porcelain mustard pot circa 1740-50 (FS17/120)
The bulk of early production was of course Kakiemon inspired with the Two Quails and Banded Hedge patterns being favourites. The prince died in 1740, though Cirou continued production until several of his workforce gave him a taste of his own medicine and took off to a new rival concern of Vincennes – one that had the benefits of royal patronage and the deep pockets no longer available to him.
A Chantilly porcelain cup and saucer circa 1740-50 (FS17/116)
Cirou died in 1751 and shortly after this, in 1752, Chantilly received something of a death sentence, an edict from Louis XV, banning the manufacture of any porcelain and further still forbidding the decoration of imported blanks – a fairly blunt move to allow his concern at Vincennes to gain primacy. Whilst Chantilly continued to operate in one guise or another up until 1800, its subsequent output finds little favour with collectors.
A Chantilly porcelain bowl circa 1740-50 (FS17/125)