Born 27 May 1886 in Desvres in the Pas de Calais region of Northern France to a family with a long history in the ceramics industry, Gabriel Fourmaintraux studied ceramics and began work in 1905 at the family factory, taking over the running of it in 1930. Production was extremely varied and ranged from lamps and utility items to advertising, trophies and tiles. Fourmaintreaux collaborated with Fernand Léger, painter and potter who worked in Biot in the South of France. The association encouraged Fourmaintreaux to work in primary colours - reds, white, yellows on a black or white ground. It also encouraged him to produce items in various original shapes. Most of his work was made using moulds, his potted items being rare. The business finally closed in 1997.