M. Thomas Anthony Edmund Hall, having strayed somewhat afield from his home in England in 1821, founded in the French town of Gien everything needed for the manufacture of earthenware: various kinds of clay and sand, wood for firing the ovens and the Loire river for transport.
At a place called « Faubourg du bout du champ » (lit. Suburb at the bottom of the field), there was a former monastery of the order of Minims dating from 1494, Mr Hall purschased the property, and the Pottery works is still there today.
During the 1870 war, the works were used an an infirmary by the Prussions and by the French troops, but as early as 1872 it was making rapid strides again as an industrial concern, with changes then being brought about by modern improvements: the railway replaced the river boats, and henceforth coal rather than wood was used to heat the kilns.
Those was the days when the refined “Faïence d”Art” patterns were created, including the famous “Blue de Gien” pattern in deep blue set off wiyh golden yellow motifs.
As early as 1880 the Pottery works were bringing out the tiles which were soons to be in all of the stations of the Paris underground.
At the world’s fairs held towards the end of the last century, the Company’s successes were attested by a great many medals and awards.
Right from the outset the Pottery works made a specially of ordinary utilitarian objects, but, up until the second World War, is also had over 2600 customers who had services made with their personal coats of arms: royal courts, princely houses, the great old famillies of Europe.
Miraculously spared in 1944, the Gien pottery works was able to keep up its produstion of the traditional “Faïence d’Art” lines and at the same time to broaden its range continually with new creations.
It has become a large entreprise equipped with modern iechnical facilities, and yet it leaves share of work to be done by hand, and this explains how its productions acquire the feel and look of objects turned out by highly skilled hands, whether you are talking about the very simplest items or fancy objects and expensive sets.