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Royal Porcelain Factory of 19th century

A porcelain factory existed until late last century in the area alongside the high chimney in the Bizkaia district.

Etienne Baignol, from Limoges, an important porcelain making centre, asked Pasaia Town Council for authorisation to create this company (19 July 1851). The Town Council granted it to him on the condition that "he respects the extremely strict obligation, given the circumstances, of employing locals rather than outsiders, due to the fact that priority had to be given to the former, i.e. to the villagers".

As was to be expected, the people from Limoges brought a number of craftsmen to help create the basis of their specialised work. The French names of these workers therefore appear on a Town Council document. The site chosen for installation of the workshop was Arizabalo Mansion and its adjacent land.

The porcelain paste was made and modelled at Arizabalo Mansion. One of the remains of this factory is the brick chimney alongside the mansion. The adjacent land was occupied by the driers and kilns. Here they continued to produce the noble ceramics started in Alcora and at the Real Fábrica China de Buen Retiro (Madrid) during the reign of Charles III following the disappearance of the other two.

At first fine ceramics were imperial in nature, later going on to feature the so-called Elizabethan decoration used to reproduce portraits of famous people. This was all done in lovely colour combinations, with the profuse decoration that continues to delight their owners even today. The company suffered a series of ups and downs until falling into the hands of Basque capitalists and the odd Frenchman, Foussade, lastly being taken over by Manuel Cámara and Ignacio Garbizu, who stayed with the company until its death in 1915. Meanwhile, this production of fine ceramics took the name of Pasai Donibane to national and international markets. Several families from Pasai Donibane still have objects made at this porcelain factory.

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