Porcelain Factory, 1793 – c. 1823
The tiny street on which Reid Hall is located first appeared on the Jaillot map of 1775 without a name, before being called "la rue Chevreuse" by Watin in 1787, and, finally, "rue de Chevreuse" on the 1791 map by Verniquet (Mackay 262-263). This last iteration became official by Royal decree (ordonnance royale) on December 31, 1845. The rue de Chevreuse was the southernmost street of a thoroughfare known as the Chemin de Vanves, connecting Paris to the suburbs of Montrouge and Vanves (Albert Jouvin de Rochefort, 1672 map).
Not much is known about 4 rue de Chevreuse prior to the late 18th century. Some have claimed that it was built around 1709 by Charles Honoré d'Albert, Duke of Luynes and Chevreuse, as his hunting lodge, though this supposed origin was debunked by Mackay in the 1930s.
Several buildings were constructed on the property between 1745 and 1780, very likely making it the oldest house on the street. A certain sieur Bosq established a small porcelainerie on-site in 1793 (Mackay 241). Two brothers-in-law, Claude Michel Roger and Toussaint Bougon took over the establishment in 1795, with Roger staying on for only one year and Bougon until 1799. The immediate area surrounding the manufactory was still quite rural, with many more fields and orchards than buildings (Goulet 241). Records show that a large orchard still stood when the parallel street, the rue de la Grande Chaumière, was traced in 1830.
Around 1800, porcelain painter Pierre-Louis Dagoty (1771 – 1840) and his brother Etienne (1772 – 1800) signed a nine-year lease on the moribund porcelain factory at 4 rue de Chevreuse (the address had been N°1586 during the Ancien Régime). On January 1, 1800, the brothers advertised their factory and store in Le Courrier des Spectacles:
The Dagoty brothers, porcelain makers, announce to the public that they have completely taken over the making of porcelain; they are proud to say that one will find a new genre of objects in their atelier; as artists and sons of distinguished artists, they seek to give to this branch of commerce all of the taste and elegance which it merits....Their workshop is at rue de Chevreuse, boulevard Mont-Parnasse. Their store is rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, N. 2 (translated from the French).
Their father, Jean-Baptiste André Gauthier Dagoty, had been a court painter and engraver, while the brothers first learned the art of porcelain-making in the famous workshop of Gérhard and Dihl, active between 1781 and 1828. Once they perfected their craft, the brothers set off on their own. The nascent manufactory was left solely in the hands of Pierre-Louis upon Etienne’s death in December 1800. Pierre-Louis transformed "[...] this rather pitiful factory" into "one of the most brilliant of the 18 manufactories existing in Paris at that time..." (de Plinval de Guillebon 2006, 26).
By 1804, the factory employed more than 100 workers and the enterprise included five workshops and four stores - one of which was decorated with mirrors and shelving (de Plinval de Guillebon 1985, 85). Dagoty sold over 350,000 francs worth of porcelain in 1806, exporting his creations to aristocratic courts in Russia and Italy. His shop on the boulevard Poissonnière was described by de Plinval de Guillebon as "an elegant store, which figured among the busiest Parisian boutiques" (1985, 84). An extension was later built at 1 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière (Almanach du commerce 455), though other sources contend that it was located at Nos. 2 and 4.
Dagoty benefited tremendously from Empress Joséphine's patronage. His factory became known as the Manufacture de S.M. l'Impératrice, P.L. Dagoty à Paris in December 1804 and continued using this label through 1813. After the fall of the First Empire in 1814, it then became known as the Manufacture of H.R.H. the Duchess of Angoulême. P.L. Dagoty through 1820.
In 1816, Dagoty formed a partnership with another porcelain-maker, François Maurice Honoré, and his son, Edouard. They combined businesses, working out of the large plant at rue de Chevreuse, a second smaller one at rue Neuve-Saint-Gilles, and a third, La Seynie in the Limousin (which Honoré had acquired in 1808), in addition to the store on Bd. Poissonnière. The results of this alliance were spectacular, as they produced objects of exquisite design with lavish gilded embellishments.
In 1902, the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired this cup and saucer, among other objects, from Reverend Alfred Duane Pell, Rector of the Church of the Resurrection in New York City. They are fine examples of Dagoty's work, which was "[...] characterized by elegance, variety of form and decoration, a definite and original taste in the use of color and the application of gold of very fine quality" (de Plinval de Guillebon 1985, 84).
In 1817, U.S. President James Monroe ordered a 30-piece dinner service from Dagoty & Honoré, the first official presidential service, which cost $1,167.23, an astonishing sum for the period. The service features a striking eagle design superimposed over a sky with radiating rays of the sun, while the bald eagle clutches arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other. A red, white, and blue shield and a banner inscribed with the words "E Pluribus Unum" cover the eagle's chest. The edge of the plate is decorated with five motifs symbolizing strength, commerce, the sciences, agriculture, and the arts.
Andrew Jackson's official presidential service from 1833 debuted another Dagoty and Honoré central eagle design. Jackson's set featured a marbleized blue border instead of Monroe's deep red and was substantially larger at 440 pieces. It cost $2,500 to import through the Philadelphia firm of L. Veron & Co (White House Historical Association).
King George IV of England (1762 – 1830), acquired this 1810 Dagoty breakfast and tea set, including its octagonal tray and double salt cellar. According to the Royal Collection Trust, "In the wake of the French Revolution, a huge amount of French furniture and porcelain had been sold abroad, particularly to the London market. George collected this in vast quantities, to furnish his houses. As a result the Royal Collection has an unparalleled number of superb French works of art and, in particular, Sèvres porcelain [...]" as well as this beautiful Dagoty "déjeuner," recorded in 1826 as part of the Carlton House confectionery, which prepared sweets for the King's table.
When Honoré and Dagoty parted ways in 1820, Dagoty took over La Seynie and left the rest of the operation to Honoré, who continued until around 1825. Dagoty retired in 1823, selling La Seynie to Dominique Denuelle, a Parisian porcelain-maker who moved his workshop there in 1834 but also retained an atelier on boulevard Saint-Denis.
Pierre-Louis Dagoty died in 1840 at the age of 69 and was buried in the Cimetière du Père Lachaise (Division 8).
Several major museums in Europe possess exquisite examples of Dagoty porcelain:
- The Victoria and Albert Museum of Art and Design holdings include 323 Dagoty designs and objects.
- The Musée national de céramique de Sèvres owns several vases and tableware.
- The Museo delle porcellane in the Pitti Palace, Florence has exceptional pieces of Dagoty tableware.
- The Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris has the complete catalogue (cote CD3857) of Dagoty designs (drawn and hand-painted), Gift of Paul Vauquier, 1935.
- Almanach du commerce de Paris, des départemens [sic] de la France et des principales villes du monde.1811, p.306. Google Books.
- Les amis du patrimoine napoléonien.
- Dagoty designs and drawings, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
- Chavagnac, Cte X. de, and De Grollier. Histoire des manufactures françaises de porcelaine précédée d'une lettre de M. le Marquis de Vogüé de l'Académie française. Paris: Alphonse Picard et fils, 1906, pp. 530, 606-608, 688. Internet Archive.
- Dawson, Aileen. A Catalogue of French Porcelain in the British Museum Collection, London: BMP, 1994, pp 386-387.
- Gazette nationale ou le Moniteur universel, December 20, 1806, p. 1524. RetroNews.
- Gazette nationale ou le Moniteur universel, May 31, 1816, p. 624. RetroNews.
- Goulet, Alain. "Sur les traces du réveil." Bulletin des Amis d'André Gide, vol. 39, number 170, April 2011, pp. 235-246. JSTOR.
- Grave of Pierre Louis Dagoty. Wikimedia Commons.
- Jouvin de Rochefort, Albert. Paris en 1672 : fac-similé du premier plan de Jouvin de Rochefort, réduction de 1/4. Ch. Chardon, 1870. Gallica.
- Lazare, Félix and Louis Lazare. Dictionnaire administratif et historique des rues de Paris et de ses monuments. Paris, 1844-1849. Gallica.
- Mackay, Dorothy. "Reid Hall: A Relic of Old Paris." South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 30, no. 3, 1931, pp. 259-271. Reprint, Reid Hall archives.
- The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Boutiques parisiennes du Premier Empire" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1925.
- Museo Glauco Lombardi: Maria Luigia e Napoleone : testimonianze. Ed. Francesca Sandrini. Milano: Touring Editore, 2003, p. 68. Google Books.
- "Nota." Journal des débats politiques et littéraires, March 21, 1820, p.2. RetroNews.
- Plinval de Guillebon, Régine de. La porcelaine à Paris sous le Consulat et l'Empire: fabrication, commerce, étude topographique des immeubles ayant abrité des manufactures de porcelaine. Geneva: Droz, 1985, pp. 82-85.
- Plinval de Guillebon, Régine de. Dagoty à Paris, la manufacture de porcelaine de L'Impératrice. Paris: Somogy Editions d'Art, 2006. Exhibition at the Château de Malmaison of more than 300 Dagoty pieces (2006-2007).
- "Porcelaines." Le Courrier des spectacles ou Journal des théâtres, January 1, 1800, p. 4. RetroNews.
- Pradère, Jeanne. "Une petite fabrique limousine à la fin du XVIIIème siècle: la Seynie." Cahiers de la céramique et de l'art du feu, vol. 13, 1959, pp. 40-43.
- La Seynie.
- "White House China Service." White House Historical Association.