1821 : The legacy
The Faïencerie de Gien was created in 1821 in Gien (Val de Loire), in the heart of France.
The 19th century gave birth to many production sites, heirs to the potters of past centuries. Its bicentennial history is linked to the name of its creator, the Englishman Thomas Hall. Hall moved to Gien and bought the enclosure and buildings of the “Convent des Minimes” located on the banks of the Loire.
At that time, the city of Gien had several assets: it is an important commercial crossroads, the city is full of raw materials (clays, sands, siliceous pebbles from the Loire) and especially the Loire allows the transport of wood from the forests of Orleans for the baking ovens.
1821-1850 : The first steps
These years were marked by the manufacture of white earthenware in an octagonal shape and the sophisticated modeling imitated from goldsmith's pieces, then by the appearance of the first themed plates.
It suited the tastes and culture of the epoch.
1850-1914 : The golden Age
From the second half of the 19th century, la Faïencerie became more creative. The gesture of the Earthen Master becomes more precise.
The Manufacture thus offers decorative pieces and table services inspired by Rouen, Saxony, Marseille, the Renaissance, the Ottoman Empire, the Antiquity.
Production continues to grow and this period is certainly the richest and most inventive of the Manufacture. In addition to the different inspirations, the richness of the collections is provided by the collaboration with painters, engravers… who are invited to imagine new decorations and forms.
The Faïencerie de Gien diversified from a technical and artistic point of view. All this work and these efforts are recognized in France and abroad and are rewarded with first prizes as well as gold and silver medals at the universal exhibitions.
The Faïencerie de Gien continued to climb and move upmarket by offering personalized services bearing the arms of the great families of Europe.
1918-1984 : The parenthesis
The first half of the twentieth century saw major social, economic and political upheavals. The Manufacture seeks to retain the place it has acquired and not to sink into the turmoil of the time.
From 1945 a new world order was established. In the decades that followed, Gien continued to modernize the production tool by building tunnel kilns (the largest in Europe) and by purchasing new machines.
In the 1970s, the Faïencerie de Gien had to face strong competition from Italy and Portugal. Europe is inundated with low-end products.
Always dynamic, the Manufacture accentuates the production of tiles. The partnership with the Harmonic group allows Gien to participate in major architectural projects through real estate complexes to be decorated.
From 1980, the Manufacture suffered from a decline in activity which forced it to restructure.
1984-2014 : The second breath
In 1984, the Faïencerie de Gien experienced a new lease of life.
It offers a new range of products (hand painted pieces, numbered limited edition), and a museum is created.
Famous names are associated with Gien such as: Paco Rabanne, Andrée Putman, Patrick Jouin, Isabelle de Borchgrave, Garouste and Bonetti… they will design new products and enhance Earthenware.
Depuis 2014 : The rebound
Since 2014, Yves de Talhouët has taken over the Manufacture de Gien.
Two passionate men, convinced by the exceptional heritage, the excellence of the know-how and the notoriety of the Faïencerie de Gien, decide to perpetuate the tradition and explore new ways by promoting contemporary creation and setting up a new export distribution policy.
Today, more than ever, the Faïencerie de Gien is part of a program of excellence. A member of the prestigious Colbert Committee, which brings together the major French luxury brands, it has been awarded the “Living Heritage Company” label.
The women and men of the Manufacture are resolutely turned towards the future to reinvent the fine earthenware of tomorrow while relying on its bicentennial roots.