22k Gold Victorian Hand Painted Portrait Plate of Madame du Barry

22k Gold Victorian Hand Painted Portrait Plate of Madame du Barry


This heavily gilded plate is one of rich heritage. The porcelain plate itself was produced by the famed Haviland Company in Limoges, France just before the turn of the century. During this era, it was a popular lady’s pastime to learn an artistic skill such as painting, sewing, or needlework. While professionally painted gilt plates were extraordinarily expensive to purchase, one could affordably acquire a bare bone china plate and a painting kit in order to reproduce one’s own rendition of the very high end portrait plates.

This plate is one such piece: it was hand painted by a lady in the United States, after she had had the porcelain plate sent to her from Limoges. With it came a kit of enamels and an image for reference, as well as instructions of how to achieve such a wispy, watercolor-like effect with the paints. The kit also came with genuine gold enamel, comprised of pure 22k gold, and intended to create swags, garlands, and a sweeping motif to emphasize the plate’s scalloped edges and to highlight the portrait around which it circles. Known as hobbyist plates, these are not always as pleasing to the eye, as they are decorated by amateur artists. This plate, however, is one of the kind’s finest examples, boasting an incredible portrait painted by a lady with great skill. The copious gilding adds value, too, given its abundance. Perhaps most special is the personal message handwritten in 22k gold on the plate’s reverse: “Olive to Aunt Elisabeth, Dec. 13, 1900”, implicating Olive as the painter, and Elisabeth as the recipient.

This particular portrait is that of Madame du Barry, the very famous last Maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XV of France, an adored subject of portrait plates during this time. The history of France was a trending topic in Victorian America, as the romance, drama and death of the reign fascinated Americans.

Collected from a massive estate in the heart of Dallas, this plate had been in Olive and Elisabeth’s family since it was made. Having only been possessed by one family, it hasn’t passed through many hands and is in grander condition because of it. The plate is in great shape, and is just as lovely to look at as the story it bears. This piece has been assessed and appraised by by Dr. Lori Verderame, a renowned celebrity appraiser and tv personality from the History Channel’s ‘The Curse of Oak Island’.

Add interest to your wall, tabletop, or curiosity cabinet with this rare piece. Use as a jewelry dish, or as a romantic touch to your wedding reception decor. Style with some other French antiques for a unique styled shoot, or gift to an artist or collector in your life who loves a good backstory.

  • Maker: Haviland Limoges China Company, hand-painted and hand-gilded

  • Material: Bone china porcelain, enamel, 22k pure gold

  • Epoch: 1890-1900

  • Dimensions: 9.5” x 1”H

  • Procurement: Dallas, Texas

  • Origin: Limoges, France

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