Seven different beautiful (and amusing) faience plates made at the Choisy le Roi factory of Hippolyte Boulenger, each plate portraying 2 “playing card” figures, and each figure described in French at the top and bottom of the plate. The seller to me indicated that the plates are from a series called “Carte à Jouer,” although I have been unable to learn anything about that particular series. I assume that a full set would have 8 plates, and thus that this group of plates is not a full set. For those that might be looking for an individual plate or plates to complete a set, each plate in the group is for sale separately for $50. The seller to me represented that these plates were made c.1860s, and I have no reason to dispute that approximate date.
The Encyclopedia Britannica online has this to say about faience:
“Faience, also spelled faïence or fayence, tin-glazed earthenware made in France, Germany, Spain, and Scandinavia. It is distinguished from tin-glazed earthenware made in Italy, which is called majolica (or maiolica), and that made in the Netherlands and England, which is called delft.
“The tin glaze used in faience is actually a lead glaze that has been rendered white and opaque by the addition of tin oxide. In the production process, an unglazed article is fired in a kiln and is then dipped in the tin glaze, which is allowed to dry. Designs are then painted on the glaze, which sets them off and preserves them during a second firing at high temperature. The colours used to paint designs were limited to the few that could tolerate high heat until the 18th century, when a low-fire overglaze enamel was used.”
An article from 2006 appearing in “Majolica Matters!” (then, if not now, a publication of the Majolica International Society), available online, recounts the history of the Choisy-le-Roi manufactory that rose to prominence under the leadership of Hippolyte Boulenger, and for those interested, the article includes pictures of some of the beautiful pieces made there. The company was early known as “Hautin & Boulenger”; however it is generally stated that the “H&B” hallmark on the back of each plate is for Hippolyte Boulenger, who owned the company and directed its work beginning in 1863.
Each plate is approximately 7¾” in diameter. They are in very good condition, with gentle crazing, but without chips, nicks or cracks.
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