painted by Louis Victor Gerverot, the porcelain probably Höchst, the dense fabric-like pattern with a striped decoration of floral garlands on a stippled gilt ground, alternating with entwined laurel garlands and puce ribbons on a hatched gilt and brown ground, alternating with white bands set with gilt flowers, comprising:
a teapot and cover
a milk jug and cover
a sucrier and cover
two coffee cans and saucers
Only one other example of this very rare and early mark on a piece of Loosdrecht porcelain is known, which is a little beaker kept in Kasteel Sypenstyn, Nieuw-Loosdrecht, illustrated by A.L. den Blaauwen in Loosdrechts Porselein, 1774-1784, where also the tête-a tête is discussed (op.cit. p.64.)
The Oude Loosdrecht factory was founded by the Reverend Johannes de Mol in 1772 as a means of creating income for the impoverished area around Utrecht, where most naturally fertile farming land had, by the early 18th century, been exhausted by the peat industry. In his memoirs of 1778, Johannes de Mol notes that he sought contact with Gerverot, who had previously been at the Weesp factory and later became director of the Fürstenberg factory, around 1770 or 1771. Gerverot left for the Höchst factory in 1770, and his name can be found in the list of employees on 30th April 1771. According to Gerverot's memoirs, he left Höchst for Schrezheim, in order to produce porcelain in one of the abandoned factories. In his diaries De Mol claims Gerverot went to Schrezheim under his orders to produce a paste (proefmas) and some trial pieces (proefporcellainen) that were to be marked with a little lion in underglaze-blue, of which five pieces are known today. In 1795 Gerverot pointed out that he used porcelain produced at Höchst and Ansbach to paint in Schrezheim.
It is tempting to think that this tête-a-tête was decorated in Schrezheim by Gerverot, thereby misleading De Mol into believing that he was able to produce the porcelain mass required by De Mol. This however seems dubious in view of the small beaker in Sypenstyn that clearly shows the Höchst wheel mark shining through the semi-translucent blue enamelled mark on the base. Johannes de Mol did not refrain from the use of porcelain from other factories: it is known that he used left-over pieces from the Weesp factory which he bought at auction in 1774, and also experimented with decoration on Chinese blanc de chine porcelain. In the long run, all these attempts to establish a flourishing porcelain industry in Loosdrecht were doomed to failure, especially in an area where the import of relatively cheap Asian porcelain through the VOC far outweighed the production of locally made porcelain. The lack of direct patronage did not help, and even though stadtholder William V of Orange willingly declared he preferred local porcelain to that made abroad (Den Blaauwen, op.cit., p.86), the factory and its contents were demolished in 1784, just a few years after the death of Johannes de Mol on 22 November 1782.
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