The story of American Belleek starts in Ireland in a town called Belleek. In 1857, the ultra lightweight, translucent, pearly, iridescent glaze was being perfected by Jules Henri Brianchon. This Belleek, which is found in the Museum of American Porcelain Art, is a superior quality porcelain.
Upon learning that American manufacturers were trying to perfect the new porcelain, a few of the artisans who worked for Belleek in Ireland emigrated to America. They went from factory to factory assisting the Americans wherever they needed to get the quality desired for their American Belleek patterns.
These first examples of American Belleek were exact replicas of the Irish Belleek, possibly even daintier. Soon, however, American Belleek branched out in new directions, incorporating Oriental, Indian, French, Dutch and countless other designs and combinations.
The reign of Belleek in America lasted about 50 years, when many of the artisans passed away or newer artists, like Boehm and Ispanky, preferred the style of figurine art featured throughout the Museum of American Porcelain Art. These artists are highlighted on our Collections page.
The Museum of American Porcelain Art is open to the general public at listed times and welcomes requests for private or group tours. The Museum also welcomes inquiries about donations, including donations of collections. Please contact us for more information.