William Guerin Limoges – Early Years
During the early 1870s, William Guerin became the owner of the Utzschneider porcelain factory in Limoges, where he had been the director. The firm carried on a large export business. Most Guerin-marked china which is found on the American market is in the form of white wares decorated by American china painters or factory decorated table china. In the white ware line, Guérin seems to have had an exclusive on “cachepots.” That word literally means a pot made to hide something such as plants, letters, or even rubbish, depending on the size which ranges from 6” to 12”. Relatively few factory-decorated art objects are found with the exception of some vases.
Bawo & Dotter Buys Guerin – Pouyat Limoges
Shortly before World War I, the Pouyat firm merged with Guerin. It appears that both the Pouyat marks and the Guérin marks were used after that time. Two years after the war, however, the Guérin Company was purchased by Bawo & Dotter (Elite Works). Due to the war years, from the time Pouyat and Guérin were joined and the short period after the war before the company was sold, it is difficult to know how much of the new production would have actually carried a Pouyat mark. It is probable that the remaining Pouyat stock, which was already marked, was sold through the Guérin company, or that the former Pouyat factory merely continued to produce china and marked it with the same Pouyat marks which had been in use prior to the merger.
It is also noted by French references that all three companies’ marks were continued after 1920 by Bawo & Dotter when they purchased Guérin-Pouyat. Bawo & Dotter Mark 12, an overglaze mark, incorporates the words “Guérin Pouyat-Elite Ltd.” That overglaze mark was found in conjunction with a Guérin marked blank. Thus the new mark seems to have been added to blanks already marked with either the Guerin, Pouyat, or Elite marks. The Bawo & Dotter Mark 12 is rarely seen. Bawo & Dotter closed in 1932, and thus Guérin marks are no later than that year.
Guerin – Pouyat Markings
Mark 1, “WG & Ce,” (for compagnie) is a mark attributed to Guérin when he was associated with Utzschneider. It would date in the 1870s, and it is rarely found. Mark 2, although printed with “FRANCE,” should date prior to 1891. Mark 3, printed with both “LIMOGES,” and “FRANCE,” is after 1900; this is the mark most frequently found on Guérin examples. Mark 4 is a decorating mark, certainly in use after 1891, and perhaps some years earlier. The mark seems to have remained essentially the same with some variations which are infrequently seen and were probably not intended for use on exported wares. Examples of such marks are “Wm. Guérin & Co. de Limoges, France,” and “W. Guérin and Cie., Paris & Limoges” printed in an oval shape. A torch printed with “Guérin Feu de Four” may be found as a mark on some pieces, indicating a special firing process.
The Guérin examples, while showing a limited amount of factory decorated china, do illustrate a wide variety of items, including not only table china, but accessory items for the dresser and desk, and jardinieres and vases as well. It is easy to see why so much of American-painted china carries a Guérin white ware mark. A number of Guerin blanks with hand-painted decoration have been selected to show the range of the company’s production.
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