An American, David Haviland, was an importer of French and English porcelains during the early to mid-1800's. In 1849 he moved his family to Limoges, France, to begin his own porcelain manufacturing and decorating factory and as a result, Haviland China, was born. Upon his death in 1879, his two sons split the company. Charles formed Haviland & Co., while Theodore formed Theodore Haviland. Charles Haviland produced this item.
This beautiful hand painted portrait plate was created by Haviland Co., circa 1890. It was during this period that the company decorated items with images of famous individuals. The portrait of Letizia Napolean is expertly executed to portray her regal facial features, beautiful flowing gown and fantastic hair adornment. The outer edge of the white blank is decorated with heavy gold gilt scrolls, leaves, beads and a narrow gilt edge. The back of the plate is hand inscribed in gold "Letizia Ramolino - Napolean's Mother" and the artist's initials "V W". The plate measures 8 3/8" across and carries the Haviland back-stamp mark "H" - "H & Co. over L over France", circa 1888-1896. There are no cracks, chips or repairs; near mint condition.
She was born in Ajaccio, Corsica on 24 August 1750 to Gian Geronimo Ramolino and Angela Maria Pietrasanta. She was married in 1764 to Carlo Buonaparte. Left a widow in 1785, she continued to reside in Corsica until 1793, when she removed to Marseilles, France. In this city she lived in straitened circumstances. After her son Napoleon became First Consul, she fixed her residence at Paris, France, and had a separate establishment assigned to her, even though she had little taste for ostentation.
All things considered, she conducted herself with great discretion, performing her part becomingly in the station to which she had been so unexpectedly elevated, and never allowing herself to forget that the sudden rise of her family might one day be terminated by an equally sudden fall. She joined the Emperor in his exile in Elba in 1814, and after the events at Waterloo she retired to Rome and resided in the household of her stepbrother, Cardinal Fesch. There she collected most of the surviving members of her family around her and lived to the advanced age of 86, dying in Rome on 2 February 1836
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