Design & Decoration S02 ep1 : David Cameo, Sevres Porcelain Maunufactory,[????]

Interview with David Cameo

The Sèvres company was founded in 1738.[1] In 1740, the Vincennes manufactory was created, with the support of Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour. In 1756, the factory moved to Sèvres, near Madame de Pompadour's Bellevue Palace. This new building, 130 meters longer, was built between 1753 to 1756 with Lindet as architect. It became a royal factory in 1759. Jean-Claude Chambellan Duplessis served as artistic director of the Vincennes porcelain manufactory and its successor at Sèvres from 1748 to his death in 1774. Louis-Simon Boizot was director between 1774 and 1800; Alexandre Brogniart director between 1800 to 1847; and Henri Victor Regnault director beginning in 1854.



The Sevres porcelain manufacture founded under Louis the XV's was
also an initiative of Madame de Pompadour in 1740, first erected in
the Chateau of Vincennes then in Sevres (vicinity of Paris). it has a
strong gross in the 18's century specially after 1856 and it peaks in the
19th century. Nowadays it hosts a great number of artists.

Sèvres is a story: a story of France. Under the influence of Madame de
Pompadour, a courtisane of king Louis XV, he decided to created a
porcelain atelier to compete with Meizen, the great German porcelain
manufacturer of Saxony, the then leader in porcelain in Europe in the
18th Century. This is the first stage, then the king realized that this
atelier was growing rapidly and he transfered it to the town of Sèvres
near Versailles. There he invites artists, the first one was Francois
Boucher, painter & sculptor of the King, then many other sculptors like
Falconet and behind us, you can see one of his sculptures. This is to
show how this institution has always worked with contemporary artists.
This is a very unique aspect of the history of Sèvres and nowadays we
work with he biggest contemporary French or international artists with
the same dynamic: our artisans explain our techniques to the artists,
the artists then adapt their art to the traditional ways of the Sèvres


Henry Dunay Jewellery

Sèvres, and I repeat myself, reflects the history of France, it expresses
the uniqueness of the history of this fine porcelain Manufacturer, the
development in applied arts gives this institution an important place in
the contemporary art world in the twenty first century. It is this mixture
of past and present that gives this institution a special edge.

I came from the world of contemporary art, I worked at the Ministry of
Culture promoting French Contemporary art in France and abroad. And
it is in this role that I came to the Sevres porcelain manufacturer to
increase the awareness of French artists in other countries. And for a
small collector like me, to be in this environment where you can
witness the making of these works of art is just pure bliss. For anybody
to see coming out from raw material, the making of art pieces, a
beautiful sculpture, a dining set, a creation from artists like Louise
Bourgeois, Jeff Koons and many others, it is very exiting. It is a
wonderful situation to be in a place where you can witness the creation
of an art piece from raw material throw to the spectacular end result.

We at Sèvres are members of the Comité Colbert, it is a collaborative
association that represents all the manufacturers of the luxury industry
in France, from LVMH, Hermes and all the others legendary
manufacturers of high repute in France. The Sèvres fine porcelain
factory is the only government owned institution which is a member of
this Comité . Here the value is time, the quality of workmanship,
exclusiveness, excellence of design and it's execution. Owing to our
traditional methods of manufacture Sèvres is able to maintain its
connection with it's past through governmental support, this allows us
to pursue ongoing research and artistic development, and you will see
this in images, the way we do things here, in Sèvres is mirroring 18
century technics. This is very rare and we need to be supported by the
government, to allow us to experiment with contemporary art pieces,
we could not be economically viable without such largesse. Part of our
charter is to serve, the French president, the prime minister and others
ministerial departments, we decorate the Presidential palaces and
banquet tables, we provide them with officials commemorative gifts for
France's diplomatic guests and dignitaries. It is our duty to serve the
government and along with this we are able to sell our production to a
wider public.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

We are located here in Sevres on the whim of King Louis XV in 1756.
He first ordained the Manufacture in Vincennes nearer to Versailles out
of rivalry with other European Royal courts. The French royal court was
importing so much porcelain from Saxony and the Orient causing a real
deficit to the coffers of the King. A solution needed to be found to
correct this problem, the Manufacture was first created in Vincennes
then moved to Sèvres. The king had realized that his guest from the
royal courts of Europe were either coming to the Louvres or to
Versailles and Sèvres was on the way, on the Royal route, at it were.
This move to Sèvres was a royal marketing decision. The aristocrats
clients of the day naturally passed by this way.
There was no Kaolin deposit here when we arrived in Sevres in 1756,
the first high quality deposit will only be found in France in 1768 near
Limoges. The kaolin was brought here by horse-drown carriages and
even today we are using the same pure kaolin. Nowadays other fine
raw materials are brought in from different parts of Europe, Spain,
England and other countries and prepared here. For all of these many
reasons we are in Sèvres today.


Sèvres is unique, it cannot be compared to Meizen, Wedgwood, or to
other great porcelain manufacturers like Haviland, Bernardo and more,
because we are the only one who have conserved the same
techniques of workmanship since the 18th century, no mechanisation,
everything is done by hand, for the decoration of biscuit everything is
hand painted. The work done here is the same than the work done
since centuries with exceptional quality of expertise and refinement.
We are even able to reproduce pieces first created as far back as 1740
because we have kept the same techniques through meticulous
records keeping. This is what sets us apart from the rest of the world,
others have being forced to make commercial decisions
counterproductive to maintaining thru refinement.
As we are a government sponsored entity we can continue to
manufacture fine porcelain in the best tradition of France's glorious
regal past. This is really the unique originality of the Sèvres atelier that
perpetuates superlative technics of the Sèvres artisan, generation after

Henry Dunay Jewellery

We have had many artists coming to work with us, mainly Americans.
Among them Calder, who came here and made some dinner plates
and a splendid pedestal table. He was fascinated by the colors, the
pigments, the oxides we work with in our laboratory at Sevres. Through
his requests he allowed us to rediscover pigments used in the 18th
century and used again for him in the 60's. Recently Jeff Koons came
to see us and we are already working on a few ideas together. He too
was amazed to see we still work like 200 years ago. He told me that he
never could imagine such an atelier still existing today. And because
he is totally passionate about the universe of love, badinage, play of
love, when he rediscovered the world of Francois Boucher and its little
biscuits expressing a stolen kiss, hidden love and so on, he could
recognizes his own world and the same preoccupation, but his being
modified and modernized. He, one of the biggest artist of our times
comes to Sèvres and rediscovers what we do and realizes he can work
here because he can use our entire collection as a basis for his own
inspiration and creation. It is this permanent dialogue between past and
future that interests artists from all avenues like Louise Bourgeois,
Yayoi Kuzama, and all these well-known artists are won over when they
realise the potential of what can be achieved here. Again this proves
the raison d'être of a public institution like the Sèvres porcelain
manufacture, truly at the service of all artists from all parts of the world.

Henry Dunay Jewellery

We would like to conserve these hand-made techniques and we don't
want to replace them with any machinery because the work done here
must be the same than in the past centuries. We must be able to
reproduce pieces from the 18th century. Even with today's technology,
there is no machine able to replace the touch of a human hand, the
pieces that we produce here are mostly unique, done by all of our
artisans and no machine could replace our artisan's clean hands and
their small tools. To use machinery is not practical and would not give
the results expected by the artists and because we produce small
limited editions (nearly one-off pieces) and that's also very attractive for
prominent contemporary artists, we don't do multiples of 1000 pieces,
we create series of 7, 8, 4, 3 pieces depending on the artist's wish. In
order to obtain pieces of high value, excellent workmanship and
refinement, each stage of the creation requires slow, dedicated and
consuming work, done and redone by hand over and over.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: David Cameo, Severus Porcelain Manufactory, ???