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The manufactory of hard-paste Limoges porcelain was established by Turgot in 1771 and placed under the patronage of the comte d'Artois, brother of Louis XVI. Limoges had been the site of a minor industry producing plain faience earthenwares since the 1730s, but the first identified French source of kaolin and a material similar to petuntse, the ingredients used for the production of hard-paste porcelain similar to Chinese porcelain, were discovered at Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche, near Limoges, in an economically distressed area, and began to be quarried in 1768. The manufactory was purchased by the king in 1784, apparently with the idea of producing hard-paste bodies for decoration at Sèvres, a venture that did not work out.

After the Revolution a number of private factories were established at Limoges, the chief of which was and remains Haviland. Thus "Limoges porcelain" is a generic term for porcelain produced in Limoges rather than the production of a specific factory. Limoges maintains the position it established in the nineteenth century as the premier manufacturing city of porcelain in France.

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