Faience pottery was first produced in Choisy-le-Roi in 1804. By 1836, the factory came under the management of Louis Boulenger who was succeeded in 1863 by his son Hippolyte Boulenger. By that time, the factory employed some three hundred skilled workers operating four kilns. A large number of majolica designs were added to production in the early 1860s and continued until 1910.
At the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian war, Alsace-Lorraine was annexed by Germany. Sarreguemines, Choisy-le-Roi’s primary competitor in majolica production, became German territory. A number of Sarreguemines workers rejected German nationality and brought important technical skills and artistry to Choisy-le-Roi. Thereafter, Boulenger was producing the finest majolica in France and received acclaim at the Paris Exhibition of 1878 and other international exhibitions.
Choisy majolica was precisely glazed and compares favorably to that of the major British manufacturers. Among the most impressive pieces are monumental hen, rooster and other bird vases modelled by Paul Comolera and Louis-Robert Carrier-Belleuse. The most common are leaf plates with a greek key border and various asparagus items.
When marked, majolica pieces bear a stamped ‘Choisy le Roi’ or ‘Choisy’ and may include the letters HB (presumably for Hippolyte Boulenger.)
Antiques from Trilogy
Philppe Meunier & Juan-Alonso Defrocourt