Samson Ceramics
Overview
 
Edmé Samson founder of the ceramics
Ceramics (art)
In art history, ceramics and ceramic art mean art objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay and other raw materials by the process of pottery. Some ceramic products are regarded as fine art, while others are regarded as decorative, industrial or applied art objects, or as...

 firm Samson, Edmé et Cie (commonly known as Samson Ceramics), was a famous copyist (and perhaps forger
Art forgery
Art forgery is the creation of works of art which are falsely attributed to other, usually more famous, artists. Art forgery can be extremely lucrative, but modern dating and analysis techniques have made the identification of forged artwork much simpler....

) of porcelain
Porcelain
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between and...

 and pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

.
Samson began his career by making service and set piece replacements in the late 1830s. In 1845 he opened the ceramics firm Samson, Edmé et Cie at 7, Rue Vendôme (later Rue Béranger) in Paris, with the intention of supplying reproductions of ceramics on display in museums and private collections.
Encyclopedia
Edmé Samson founder of the ceramics
Ceramics (art)
In art history, ceramics and ceramic art mean art objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay and other raw materials by the process of pottery. Some ceramic products are regarded as fine art, while others are regarded as decorative, industrial or applied art objects, or as...

 firm Samson, Edmé et Cie (commonly known as Samson Ceramics), was a famous copyist (and perhaps forger
Art forgery
Art forgery is the creation of works of art which are falsely attributed to other, usually more famous, artists. Art forgery can be extremely lucrative, but modern dating and analysis techniques have made the identification of forged artwork much simpler....

) of porcelain
Porcelain
Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between and...

 and pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

.

Edme Samson's ceramics

Samson began his career by making service and set piece replacements in the late 1830s. In 1845 he opened the ceramics firm Samson, Edmé et Cie at 7, Rue Vendôme (later Rue Béranger) in Paris, with the intention of supplying reproductions of ceramics on display in museums and private collections. The factory was moved to Montreuil, Seine-Saint-Denis
Montreuil, Seine-Saint-Denis
Montreuil is a commune in the eastern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris. It is the third most populous suburb of Paris...

 in 1864 by Samson’s son, Emile Samson (1837–1913). The firm either drew inspiration from other factories, or directly copied their pieces. Designs from the factories of Meissen
Meissen porcelain
Meissen porcelain or Meissen china is the first European hard-paste porcelain that was developed from 1708 by Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. After his death that October, Johann Friedrich Böttger, continued his work and brought porcelain to the market...

, Sèvres
Manufacture nationale de Sèvres
The manufacture nationale de Sèvres is a Frit porcelain porcelain tendre factory at Sèvres, France. Formerly a royal, then an imperial factory, the facility is now run by the Ministry of Culture.-Brief history:...

, Chelsea
Chelsea porcelain factory
The Chelsea porcelain manufactory is the first important porcelain manufactory in England; its earliest soft-paste porcelain, aimed at the aristocratic market—cream jugs in the form of two seated goats—are dated 1745...

, and Derby
Royal Crown Derby
The Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Company is a porcelain manufacturer, based in Derby, England. The company, particularly known for its high-quality bone china, has produced tableware and ornamental items since approximately 1750...

 were among the reproductions Samson, Edmé et Cie produced, along with designs copied from and all the major factories of England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

.

During the nineteenth century, the market for fine china was considerable and Sampson’s firm reproduced ceramics in a breadth of styles including the faience
Faience
Faience or faïence is the conventional name in English for fine tin-glazed pottery on a delicate pale buff earthenware body, originally associated with Faenza in northern Italy. The invention of a white pottery glaze suitable for painted decoration, by the addition of an oxide of tin to the slip...

 and maiolica
Maiolica
Maiolica is Italian tin-glazed pottery dating from the Renaissance. It is decorated in bright colours on a white background, frequently depicting historical and legendary scenes.-Name:...

 types of Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 pottery, Persian style dishes, Hispano-Moresque
Hispano-Moresque
Hispano-Moresque ware is a style of initially Islamic pottery created in Al Andalus or Muslim Spain, which continued to be produced under Christian rule in styles blending Islamic and European elements...

 pottery (a blending of Islamic and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an motifs, produced during the 13th to 15th centuries), plates in the FitzHugh pattern, as well as plates designed by his fellow Frenchmen, Bernard Palissy
Bernard Palissy
Bernard Palissy was a French Huguenot potter, hydraulics engineer and craftsman, famous for having struggled for sixteen years to imitate Chinese porcelain...

. Another frequent style copied by the Samson firm was the famille rose and famille verte styles produced in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 between 1720 and 1790. Imari
Imari porcelain
Imari porcelain is the name for Japanese porcelain wares made in the town of Arita, in the former Hizen Province, northwestern Kyūshū. They were exported to Europe extensively from the port of Imari, Saga between latter half of 17th century and former half of 18 th century, Japanese as well as the...

 wares, named for the Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese port where a type of richly decorated porcelain made at Arita
Arita, Saga
is a town located in Nishimatsuura District, Saga, Japan. It is known for producing Arita porcelain, one of the traditional handicrafts of Japan. It also holds the largest ceramic fair in Western Japan, the Arita Ceramic Fair...

 was shipped, were also copied by Samson.

Copyist or Forger

Samson, Edmé et Cie did not set out to produce copies with the intention to deceive, and claimed that all reproductions the firm produced would be distinctly mark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

ed to avoid confusion with the originals. However, many of its products have been passed off as originals.

The Samson firm, in many instances, attempted to distinguish their reproductions from originals. The Samson wares were produced in hard-paste porcelain, while many of the originals would have been produced from soft-paste porcelain. The glaze
Ceramic glaze
Glaze is a layer or coating of a vitreous substance which has been fired to fuse to a ceramic object to color, decorate, strengthen or waterproof it.-Use:...

s utilized by the Samson firm were often glossy and somewhat glassy, the modeling stiffer, or wrong in scale
Scale (ratio)
The scale ratio of some sort of model which represents an original proportionally is the ratio of a linear dimension of the model to the same dimension of the original. Examples include a 3-dimensional scale model of a building or the scale drawings of the elevations or plans of a building. In such...

, the decoration was often too heavy, and colors were often inaccurate. Leading many experts to conclude that Samson, and his firm, were merely enthusiastic, if sometimes clumsy, copyists.

On the other hand, some Samson reproductions have only been detected by recognition of anachronistic details. Samson copies of Meissen pieces have passed for originals, since the blue underglaze
Underglaze
Underglaze is a method of decorating ceramic articles, the decoration is applied to the surface before it is glazed. Because the glaze will subsequently cover it such decoration is completely durable, but because the subsequent glost firing is at a higher temperature than used in on-glaze...

 ‘Ss’, Edmé’s mark, can be removed and substituted with false marks. Additionally, an 1880 reproduction piece by Samson, of a British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 armorial
Roll of arms
A roll of arms is a collection of coats of arms, usually consisting of rows of painted pictures of shields, each shield accompanied by the name of the person bearing the arms...

 plate shows evidence of scratchings, perhaps in an attempt to erase the Samson mark and pass the plate off as an original. Further complicating authenticity, numerous reproductions of Chelsea and Derby figures bear marks other than his trademark ‘Ss’, and in some instances bear no mark at all.

It is impossible to determine when, by whom, and for what reason the Samson marks might have been removed. However, during the same period other companies were producing reproductions similar to those created by the Samson firm. In Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 the Herend
Herend
Herend is a small town in Hungary , near the city of Veszprém.The history of the town goes back into Roman times, indicated by the findings near the precincts of the town, while in the Middle Ages a few villages occupied the area where the current town stands...

 company produced famille rose pieces and armorial plates. However, unlike the Samson firm’s marks, Herend utilized both impressed
Impression seal
The impression seal is a common seal that leaves an impression, typically in clay and less often in wax. In antiquity they were common, largely because they served to authenticate legal documents, such as tax receipts, contracts, wills and decrees...

 marks and painted ones, which cannot be erased or removed.

Collector's items

The Samson, Edmé et Cie company continued to produce porcelains until 1969. The salesroom models were sold in 1979 by Christies, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

.
Today many of the Samson’s pieces are collectors’ items. And ironically not all of the Samsons around are actually Samsons: some were actually produced by Herend, although the Herend mark (usually a shield with crossed paintbrushes) cannot be erased.
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