Robert Haviland & C. Parlon - Lustrous Fine China Designs

How is it Made?

The Art of Making Fine China


A subtle blend of kaolin, feldspar and quartz, the paste used to make fine china dinnerware comes in several formats: powder (used for isostatic pressing), paste (for calibrating) or liquid (know as the “slip” and used for casting).

The majority of Fine China plates from R. Haviland & C. Parlon are produced using molding via isostatic press. This production method consists of firmly pressing powder mixed with a binding agent between two molds (the “stamp” forming the top and the “membrane” forming the bottom). Other circular pieces, such as cups, serving bowls and serving dishes, are molded from paste using the calibration technique: turned by hand on a modeling wheel. Finally, for so-called “hollow” pieces such as teapots, cream jugs and sugar bowls, the paste is poured in liquid form (“the slip”) into hollow plaster molds (1), where the water absorbed by the plaster interior forms a crust. After drying and demolding, but before the first firing at 980° C (called the “warm up”), handles, knobs and spouts are individually glued to the slip: this is the process of garnishing (2). Thus, a coffeepot may be composed of disparate parts produced by five different molds. Each piece is then carefully deburred, a finishing stage to trim, clean and remove any seams or rough edges.

Once the pieces are removed from the first “warm up” firing oven (3), they are more resistant to breakage and have been rendered more porous and receptive to glazing. Glazing is a delicate operation whereby each piece is plunged into a liquid bath of carefully dosed mineral components (4). They are then placed in an oven for the second firing or “high firing” at 1400° C which vitrifies the glazed porcelain, giving it the shiny and transparent appearance of fine china.


How is it Decorated?

The Art of Making Fine China


There are multiple decoration techniques: chromolithography (or transfers), hand painting, inlaying and sanding. All of these techniques require exceptional manual skills and craftsmanship.

Chromo (or transfer) decorations are printed on transfer paper which must be soaked in water; the decoration is then delicately lifted from the paper by the decal applier, and painstakingly applied to the white porcelain (5). This difficult operation is further complicated by the complexity of decals which must adhere perfectly to rounded shapes without any visible seams.

Hand painting (6) requires great dexterity. This technique is notably used for painting the fine borders around plates and serving dishes, or for garnishing handles and knobs on pouring pots and soup tureens.

Inlaying is a highly luxurious method of ornamentation requiring an entire series of operations entrusted to expert hands. It consists of engraving chromo decorations directly into the porcelain, after having first protected the rest of the piece with a coating of tar. Then the engraved motif is covered with gold or platinum powder, fired again, sanded, polished and burnished with agate for an incomparable shine (7). 

More than thirty artisanal processes in as many days are carried out by loving hands, to obtain just one piece of fine chinaware manufactured and decorated by R. Haviland & C. Parlon.


The History and Romance Behind the Patterns



Another porcelain collection from R. Haviland and C. Parlon was designed by Véronique Villaret, stylist and designer working in Paris. Daphné pattern consists of six different porcelain base colors and hand painted Matisse-like pattern featuring 22k gold branches.



Simply elegant, this classic model features a colored rim bordered by a thin line of gold matte and gold edging. Available in eight colors: chestnut, fuchsia, terracotta, pearly rose, bronze green, golden yellow, almond green and empire green.



This pattern originates from the Napoleon 1st era. At that time, the eagle represented power and the military, while bees were the symbol of wealth and prosperity. 



Created by the Sèvres porcelain factory for La Pompadour to reflect the subtleness, serenity and graceful curves of Louis XV’s favorite royal mistress; the bird motif is inspired by her famous aviary.



Representing an emblematic city at the dawn of the 1950’s, a crossroads between tradition and innovation, a symbol of hope, and the pattern for a new world. A concept that resonates through the pure lines of its architecturally structured design.



The constellation of stars imprisoned in a fine gold mesh stands out against the cobalt blue background of this dramatic pattern.



A classic pattern with a gold matte border, it is the ideal showcase for personal monograms or a gold coat of arms. This dinnerware is used by Belgian Embassies throughout the world.



Inspired by Persian art, this pattern evokes the geometric ceramic designs decorating the mausoleum cupola in the Iranian village of Shiraz.



A recreation of the porcelain dinnerware that was used by the famous novelist in her country home, featuring a fine gold or platinum scalloped edge.



Entirely decorated in gold or platinum, this service created in the late 1920s requires skilled hand finishing and craftsmanship.



Originally produced in 1762 by Falconet for Empress Catherine II of Russia, this service was recreated in 1950 for the Metropolitan Museum of New York.



André Parlon created this pattern to celebrate the “art of fire”, the firing technique used to create fine china. The flames vary from blue to orange, according to the temperature.



Inspired by the interior décor of Chateau Malmaison, the home of Josephine and Napoleon Bonaparte.



A pattern specially ordered by Madame Chirac for the French Prime Minister’s residence, based on a design from the Sèvres Museum. The green foliage outlined in gold is inspired by the lush Matignon gardens.



Bright, daring colors and simple elegance make this pattern, created by Monet for his Giverny dining room, resolutely modern. It has been recreated for the Claude Monet Museum.



This timeless and elegant design was specially adapted for the Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat restaurant at the request of interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon and star chef Didier Aniès.



The advent of the new millennium is symbolized by the metamorphosis of a rose in this design by the American artist Nall.



An extraordinary pattern created in the 1970s for an Arab prince who was building a palace in the desert. The dining room windows overlooked a rose garden flourishing in the central courtyard, and the service was designed to reflect and complement the lush garden views.



A pattern selected by King Hassan II of Morocco for his daughter’s wedding banquet.



Designed by Stefany Bellamy, this lush pattern evokes the roses of an Isfahan garden. The plates and cups are decorated with embroidered images of precious fabrics and lacework.



The name alone inspires poets to flights of fancy. Arielle de Brichambaut made it into a jeweled pattern, holding Mediterranean turquoise stones captive within the golden bonds of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations.



This frieze is reminiscent of court life at the palace of Louis XIV – shiny and ostentatious.



In homage to the grandfather of Charles Field Haviland, this pattern displays the rich, subtle contrast of thick gold or platinum bands against fine white porcelain.