This beautiful faience cobalt blue vanity box was produced by Hippolyte Boulenger & Co. in the mid to late 1800s. The body of the box is cobalt blue with gold detailing and the lid depicts a lady fish monger selling her goods under an umbrella at the open air market. The colors are still very strong both with the scene on the lid and the cobalt blue; there is some loss of gold detailing. The piece measures 5” at its widest, 4 5/8” deep and 2” tall. The mark on the bottom has a crown over an inverted H through a B and Choisy Le Roi under that. There is no country of origin which should date it before 1891 when the country of origin was required to be on the mark or label. The vanity box is in very good, antique condition. There are no chips or visible crazing; there is a thin hairline on the inside bottom and one in the glaze on the lid, but neither goes all the way through the pottery. It is in remarkable condition for a piece that was considered inexpensive when it was manufactured.
Hippolyte was the grandson of Hippolyte Hautin and Louis Boulenger who obtained the faience pottery factory from three brothers who had established the concern in the Choisy, France, in 1804. Hautin’s daughter married Boulenger’s son, and in 1862 their son, Hippolyte, became the factory owner. Soon after taking over the faiencier, young Boulenger changed the name of the company from Hautin & Boulenger to Hippolyte Boulenger & Co. There has been much confusion on the marks for these pieces since the initials for both company names were H B. However from my research, when it was owned by Hautin & Boulenger, the mark read H & B & Co., but after young Hippolyte become the owner, the mark read HB & Co. Hippolyte Boulenger died in 1892, and sometime in the first quarter of the 20th century the company name was changed by his heirs. The Choisy plant was closed in 1934 and the operation was moved to other locations.
What a spectacular addition to your faience/pottery collection or to use on your dresser or desk. Please contact us if you have any questions.
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