Jacob Petit (1796-1868), owned one of the most important and well-known porcelain factories in France, becoming one of the major producers of Rococo ornamental ware during the 1830s. Between 1830 and 1850, new manufacturing techniques evolved that modernized the production process without sacrificing the craftsmanship of this time-honored trade.
At the 1834 Paris Exhibition, the work of Petit showed his genius for inventing numerous and varied new forms, revolutionizing the manufacture of porcelain. He was imitated throughout Europe and his name was given to a Rococo Revival style that reflected the many different influences on Petit's designs. His highly decorative porcelain was enormously popular in both England and France and has proven to be well-made and designed to endure the test of time.
A self-taught painter, he launched a modest porcelain manufacturing business in 1830. By 1839 Jacob Petit employed about 200 craftsmen and enjoyed great success. His production must have been prodigious. His production include vases, urns, clocks, figures, inkwells and perfume bottles. Of particular interest are the figural veilleuses, or bedside tea warmers, known as personnages.
These brightly painted beauties can be found in the form of exotic characters like Chinese noblemen, sultans and sultanas, and fortune tellers, or more mundane subjects, such as nuns or street vendors. Each one is made in several parts, the top being the teapot and the bottom being hollow with an opening in the back to fit the tiny porcelain oil lamp or godet.