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Collecting Pottery:
Collecting Old Continental Pottery

Henri Deux Ware, Etc.
Palissy Ware
Paris And Its Environs
Glazed Pottery Of France

Stoneware Of Germany
German And Other Guilds

Stockholm, Rorstrand, and Marieberg

Delft: The Old Signs Of The Potters

Majolica And Luca Della Robia
Castel Durante
Naples, Rimini, Monte Feltro, And Forli
Siena, Monte Lupo, And Pisa
Fabriano, Viterbo, Rome
Venice, Treviso, Bassano, Milan, Etc.

Persia And Damascus
Persian And Other Tiles
Rhodes, Asiatic Turkey, Etc.

Hispano-Moresque Ware

Pottery - Alcora

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

We are indebted to Juan F. Riano for our information regarding the manufactory of pottery and porcelain at Alcora, near Valencia. He received permission to examine the records of the house of Aranda, and from them he has traced the growth of the works from the time of their foundation in 1726, by Count Aranda, to 1750, when the pottery was sold by him to a private company, which ceased to exist in 1766. The china factory established two years before this period, and managed for the owner, Count Aranda, drew away the best workmen.

The first productions, consisting of pottery " in the manner of China, Holland, and other localities," appeared in 1727, when de Sayas and Joseph Ollery were respectively superintendent and chief draughtsman. Joseph Ollery or Olerys was also a carver, and when he left Alcora he re-established himself at Moustiers, where, about 1747, he was ruined, and nothing further is known of him. Yet in 1728 Count Aranda was so impressed with his merits that he increased his salary because of " the excellent manner in which Ollery has worked in Alcora, the fine and numerous models which he constructed, which have contributed to make my manufacture the first in Spain."

What cause led to the disappearance of Ollery's name from the personnel of the Alcora fabrique after 1737 is not known, but we do know that a number of painters, including Pierre Maurissy and Gras, two Frenchmen, were engaged in 1728, in addition to several modellers, of whom the chief was Sebastian Carvonel. Eight years later the workers increased ; fifty-six painters, eleven masters, two workers at the wheel, and twenty-five apprentices were occupied in producing excellent and beautiful pottery, which was sent " to all dominions of Spain, Rome, Naples, Malta, many Italian cities, Portugal, and some provinces of France." Much care was bestowed upon the ware. The ordinances specified " that in our manufactory only pottery of the most excellent kind should be made, similar to the Chinese, to be equally fine as to the earths employed, that the models and wheels should be perfect, the drawing of a first-rate kind, and the pottery light and of good quality, for it is our express wish that the best pottery should only be distinguished from that of an inferior kind by the greater or less amount of painting which covers it."

Amongst the many painters in 1743 the best are mentioned: Miguel Soliva, Christobal Cros, Francisco Grangel, Miguel Villar, Christobal Rocafort, Vincente Serrania, and Joseph Pastor. These decorated the large slab, " The Virgin as the Divine Shepherdess," in the convent of Las Descalzas Reales in Madrid, and also a fine dinner service made for the Tribunal of Commerce, to which the Count wrote in 1746 as follows: " The perfection of the earthenware of Alcora consisted in the excellent models which had been made by competent foreign artists, the quality of the earth, and receipts brought at great expense from abroad." After mentioning Joseph Ochando as an excellent painter and Juan Lopez as the best carver and modeller, the document proceeds: " From the earliest period of the manufacture, pyramids, with figures of children holding garlands of flowers and baskets of fruit on their heads, were made with great perfection, likewise brackets, centre and three-cornered tables, large objects, some as large as five feet high, to be placed upon them, chandeliers, cornucopias, statues of different kinds, and animals of different sorts and sizes. The entire ornamentation of a room has also been made here ; the work is so perfect that nothing in Spain, France, Italy, or Holland could equal it in merit."

Count Aranda's satisfaction with the pottery ware produced at his works changed to discontent later, for, criticising his porcelain in 1776, he complains that it " gets worse every day instead of improving"; but he had given up his pottery, as we have seen, in favour of a company which did not succeed. Yet in 1780 two potteries were at work in Alcora, and one each in Rivasalbes and Onda, quite near. To these four had migrated many artists whose names are found on their works, who had been in the employ of the Count, among them Mariano Causada, Joaquin Ten, Francisco Marsal, Vincente Alvaro, Christoval Mascar6s, Francisco and Miguel Badenas, and Nadal Nebot, a few of whom were re-engaged by him. Before z7go all the pottery works producing imitations of the earlier ware of Count Aranda were closed. They had from 1784 been ordered by the Tribunal of Commerce to mark their wares with the letter A. No special mark had hitherto been employed; the artists often signed their names on their work or used a monogram from 1727 to 1784, and later in conjunction with A in gold, in colours, or in blue, or A underlined.

More information awaits you regarding old Spanish pottery in the admirable work, so little known, " Spanish Arts," by Juan F. Riano ; but my pleasant task is ended-it only remains to say Farewell!

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