LIMOGES.- Limoges Museum
was founded in 1845. Its existence was largely due to the Limousin Archeological and Historical Society (Société darchéologie et dhistoire) whose mission was to catalogue and preserve historical artefacts and documents found in the local area. The society had been created by a regional governor ("préfet") named Morisot, and its collections conserved in chambers formerly used by the governor.
In 1867, the Archeological and Historical Society relinquished its collection to Limoges city council. Adrien Dubouché, who in 1865 had been appointed as the museums first curator, requested that the town house the collection in municipal buildings previously used as a lunatic asylum, situated near the centre of town (i.e. the museums present site).
Despite work to adapt the building, its XVIIIth century structure was unsuited for displaying the collection which was not shown adequately until the last years of the 19th century when the present, specifically-designed museum building was constructed.
Adrien Dubouché, benefactor and visionary
The French National Porcelain Museum in Limoges bears the name of its most generous patron, Adrien Dubouché. But who exactly was he and what did he do?
Born in 1818 in Limoges, Adrien Dubouché married Ermance Bisquit (in 1846) and became a partner in his father-in-laws firm dealing in cognac. He was not only an astute businessman but also passionately interested in art, and particularly in ceramics.
Adrien Dubouché was appointed director of Limoges Museum in 1865. He had long been a keen painter and collector, often in close contact with artistic life in Paris and as early as 1866 donated 400 objects to the Limoges Museum. In 1868 he founded an art school on the museum premises with the express intention that the collection should serve as inspiration to the schools art students. Upon the death of his friend and expert in oriental pottery Albert Jacqemart, Adrien Dubouché bought his private collection of ceramics and donated it to the museum. In gratitude for this generosity, the town of Limoges and state council decreed that the museum should be named after him. During his lifetime, Adrien Dubouché donated over 4000 items to the museum. One major donation for example was the collection formerly owned by Paul Gasnault (curator of the Decorative Arts Museum in Paris), which Adrien Dubouché bought privately and then gave to Limoges Museum in 1880.
By 1881, both museum and art school had become too important to be administered by Limoges alone and were converted into national institutions. That same year construction began of new buildings to house the collections and art school.