Limousin’s colours come not only from its flamboyant autumns. Limoges shines with the excellence of its porcelain and enamels. The ardent heat of its kilns transforms matter, delivering its secrets throughout creation. The revival of enamel is due to the will of professionals to ensure their know-how is passed on to younger generations and stained-glass continues to mark Limoges’s artistic heritage.
Limoges enamel acquired its eminence during the Middle Ages. Saint-Martial abbey was at the heart of a vast network of intellectual, artistic and religious exchanges and was a major pilgrimage point on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela . Techniques applying gold and enamel onto copper developed and were exported throughout Europe. Limoges became renowned for its masterpieces: religious productions, book covers and above all, shrines for relics, crucifixes, sacred vases and incense burners.
During the Renaissance, new techniques appeared such as painted enamel or grisaille. Cheron is the only workshop that still uses these techniques today. Secular themes emerged privileging Greco-Roman Antiquity. Pierre Reymond and Léonard Limousin were the master enamel workers at the time. Léonard Limosin’s enamels were present in the Bergé-Saint Laurent sale catalogue.
After a long decline, enamel reappeared in the XIXth century, and again with the Art Deco movement and Léon Jouhaud.
During the Enamel Biennial Arts Festival from 1972 to 1994, Georges Magadoux strived to unite worldwide designers. Contemporary art held an important place, confirmed by young designers, recently initiated to this art. Encouraged by their predecessors, they gave new life to enamel by associating it with contemporary materials and giving it a new place in the household.