There is nothing quite like Antique Haviland Limoges China with its delicate nature and charming floral patterns. There are hundreds of patterns most with many variations of color or blank which makes identifying the pattern quite difficult.
Often times the patterns are so similar and on the same blank they appear to be the same. Look closely at the two cups and saucers pictured.
Arlene Schleiger wrote 5 books identifying many of the Antique Haviland Limoges Patterns. Her work has been continued by her daughter in law Dona Schleiger who wrote the sixth book in the series.
Arlene states in the forward of the first book – Two Hundred Patterns of Haviland China Book I – published in 1950 –
“For many years I have been specializing in Haviland China. Hence I could see the need for pattern identification.
First, I made the following list of problems which I knew were involved;
1. The same patterns appear on different blanks. (A blank is the white china form before decoration is applied.) The same pattern appears with and without gold edge.
2. The same pattern appears with the same flowers but in different colors.
3. The flower arrangements vary. Seldom will two plates of the same pattern be exactly alike.
4. In many patterns the flowers are hard to identify. Most of them are pink. Which ones are really roses, wild roses, apple blossoms, etc.?
5. Rarely is a pattern name stamped on a piece. Only occasionally is a number stamped and then usually only on a serving dish.
6. How shall I cover the different Haviland Companies?”
The problems Ms. Schleiger encountered as she began her Haviland Pattern Identification more than a half century ago are the same problems one encounters today as a collector or as one who inherited family china.
Arlene Schleiger used saucers to identify the Antique Haviland Patterns and in the forward to Book V she states that her collection of saucers numbered over 4000 – meaning over 4000 different Antique Haviland Pattern variations!
Most Haviland patterns are now identified by Schleiger numbers – the result of Arlene Schleiger’s efforts.
As I began to try to identify the pattern of my first set of Antique Haviland Limoges China my search led me to Dona Schleiger. Her request was I send her a saucer for identification.
Soon after – I purchased my set of the original 5 books.
Arlene Schleigher has left us an invaluable resource for identifying Haviland China. However, since her books provide only black and white sketches of the patterns, identifying Haviland China Patterns still presents quite a challenge.
I begin my Haviland pattern identification by first looking at the back marks. Since I am limited in the pictures I can include here please visit my blog to see pictures of the various back marks and information about each.
Identifying Haviland China, click here.
There are 2 marks on the back of Antique Haviland china – one represents the manufacturer and the other represents the decorator. If there is just one mark the china was sold as whiteware and usually decorated elsewhere. Sometimes there is also a mark representing the store the china was produced for.
Arlene Schleiger divided her books into sections according to these manufacturers – Haviland & Company, Theodore Haviland, Charles F Haviland.
Once you have identified the Haviland maker you know which section in these books to look for your pattern. The main problem with Ms Schleiger’s books is that the pictures are in black and white. Most were drawn from a saucer or small plate.
Look very closely at the pattern you wish to identify – preferably on a saucer or small plate if available. Is it a border design or is it scattered all over the piece? Try to imagine it in black and white.
Observe what it is that makes this design unique. This could be theshape of the flower – but since so many are roses this may not be the best starting point. Many patterns have other flowers mixed with the roses – concentrate on them.
Be aware of the placement of the flowers in the pattern – do they loop, are they garlands, do some of the flowers drop to the center of the plate?
The shape of the leaf is often distinctive.
The addition of ribbons, scrolls or lattices amongst the flowers is perhaps the most helpful in narrowing the pattern identification.
Once the pattern is identified with its Schleiger number, most often there are many variations of that pattern. These variations may be in the color of the design, the shape of the blank, the gold trim or lack of it. Sometimes it takes many trips through all of the books to identify a Haviland pattern.
Nedless to say, identifying an Antique Haviland Limoges China Pattern can be most time consuming and often quite frustrating. When it is successful it is indeed an accomplishment!
Written by Marie Maguire
Holly Lane Antiques on Ruby Lane