A Little History of Limoges France

The city of Limoges has a history that winds itself back to two crucial events which have essentially made this capital of the Haute-Vienne region of France what it is today. The first was the arrival of Saint Gregory of Tours, otherwise known as St. Martial. The second was the discovery of clay.

Previously named Augustoritum, for Augustus Ceasar, its founder during Roman rule, the city was later renamed for the Viscount of Limoges, who constructed a castle there in the 10th century. Yet, is was neither of these distinguished men who made the greatest impression upon this place. While it may seem an insignificant incident that Augustoritum happened to be one of seven Gaulish locations chosen to receive a Bishop from Pope Fabian in the mid third century, that Bishop became nothing short of a legend! The tomb of St. Martial was chosen as the building sight for the Abbey of Saint-Martial. Here it was that so many pilgrims, enroute to Spain, would stop. Here it was that a great library would be built that would eventually grow Limoges into a renowned center of Medieval music, illuminations and other arts. Over the years, St. Martial’s reputation grew until it was told of him that he had been an Apostle of Jesus Christ, present at Christ’s Last Supper, crucifixion, and ascension, and that the staff given him by St.Peter had enabled him to raise the dead.

Limoges’ other claim to fame, which again pushed this city into the forefront of cultural distinction, was the discovery of Kaolin in 1765. Kaolin rock contains the mineral Kaolinite, the white clay used to make fine china. By the end of the twentieth century, there were at least 35 porcelain factories operating around Limoges, all producing exquisite pieces, such as dishes and decorative boxes. We might recognize the name Haviland, a Limoges china that has been coveted by notable families throughout the United States. Montreal History tutors and math tutors can help you learn about the region.

Though Limoges can lay claim to fame on many accounts, from its being the birthplace of the famous painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, to the creation of champlevé a metal enameling technique similar to cloissoné, it was the trifling discoveries of clay and the acquisition of a Bishop that really boosted the city into greatness. Although not at Renoir’s level, Montreal painters that are college pros can make your walls look nearly as good.

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