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Collecting Old Continental Pottery
Henri Deux Ware, Etc.
Paris And Its Environs
Glazed Pottery Of France
Stoneware Of Germany
German And Other Guilds
SWEDEN, DENMARK, SWITZERLAND:
Stockholm, Rorstrand, and Marieberg
Delft: The Old Signs Of The Potters
Majolica And Luca Della Robia
Naples, Rimini, Monte Feltro, And Forli
Siena, Monte Lupo, And Pisa
Fabriano, Viterbo, Rome
Venice, Treviso, Bassano, Milan, Etc.
PERSIA AND DAMASCUS:
Persia And Damascus
Persian And Other Tiles
Rhodes, Asiatic Turkey, Etc.
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
In the official records of the scrivener of the city of Rouen, under the date of March 7, 1548, Masseot Abaquesne, enameller on pottery, acknowledged the receipt of a hundred gold ecus for a certain number of enamelled pottery tiles, made for the high and puissant Lord Messire the Constable Anne de Montmorency, Grand Master of France. Many of these tiles, made at Sotteville-les-Rouen, from 1542 to about 1550, are shown at the Cluny Museum at Paris, having been brought from the chateau of Ecouen, and they prove the existence of enamelled pottery at Rouen at the time when Bernard Palissy was carrying out his experiments at Saintes and invented the same art.
The fabrique of Rouen had a considerable influence over the ceramic productions of France. Not only was it established before that of Nevers, but its style of decoration became the object of almost universal imitation. Belgium, Holland, and even Italy multiplied varieties of a genre which Lille, Paris, St. Cloud, and Marseilles copied readily in order to meet the public demand. Thus it happens that Rouen is awarded the first place amongst the potteries purely French, and it maintained this position during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Between the record of the tiles of Abaquesne, some of which are inscribed A ROUEN' 1542, and the granting of a licence to Nicolas Poirel in 1646, a hundred years elapsed in which we have no proof of a sustained manufacture. From that date to 1673, when a similar privilege was granted to Louis Poterat, the fabrique produced a great number of armorial dishes painted in blue, and others where the cobalt was associated with an intense red-rouge de fer.
The licence of Poterat gave him authority to make porcelain, violet faience, painted with white and blue and with other colours, like that of Holland, which evidently refers to delft with polychrome decoration. In 1699 Poterat was established at St. Sever, and it is said that at Rouen two thousand workpeople were employed in making faience, notwithstanding the exclusive rights of Poterat. M. Jacquemart formulates his opinion that neither at Rouen nor at Nevers was there a factory mark. It is rivalry and competition which impose the obligation of a distinctive sign, which is not required by a unique establishment, nor by one which has a large number of customers. Perhaps this may be the reason why the early ware has no mark, though one name, "Brument 1699," occurs, and with it the earliest date.
Before 1699, another potter, M. Guillibeaux, reached eminence. He was the maker of a service for Francois Henry de Montmorency, Duke of Luxemburg, whom Louis XIV. appointed Governor of Normandy in 1690 ; but he held that high office for five years only, when he died. During his term, the work of Guillibeaux was completed-fine plates, dishes, etc., painted with his coat-of-arms, and a grand fountain, which may be seen at the Cluny Museum. The polychrome decoration became a type from which developed the Rouen style d la corne, marked by the cornucopia, and another with quivers, birds, and insects, which, with other forms of ornament, will be considered later. Some pieces from the atelier of Guillibeaux bear the mark GS, and others E.G, GM, G ; but there appears to be some doubt with regard to other marks with G which appear in the list of the Rouen marks. One piece had a mark Mrs. Guillibeaux.
The first privileges were granted to Poirel and E. Poterat, but by later decrees other potters received authority to make faience : L. Poterat, Levavasseur, Pavie, Mahstra, Dionis, Lecoq de Villeray, Picquet de la Houssiette, and de Bare de la Croizille. Then, as the commercial manufacture extended, more names appear. Amongst them in 1788 may be mentioned Belanger, Dubois, Dumont, Flandrin, Hugue and the widow Hugue, Jourdain, la Houssiette, and Vavasseur. It will be noticed that the two last names occur also in the earlier list. M. Sturgeon made earthenware in the English fashion.
In 1791 the number of factories had increased to sixteen, but the potters and artists who worked at Rouen and St. Sever remain for the most part unknown, in spite of the number and the variety of the initials and monograms which are found on the reverse of a large number of pieces. Some of the very best work, about 1725, is attributed to Pierre Chapelle, who was employed by Madame Villeray at St. Sever, as well as to Dieu and Gardin, who are not mentioned in any list. It is probable that in those instances the artists used their own special or private ateliers.
The method of classifying the marks according to the style of the decoration is one adopted by Al. jacquemart, and-we cannot do better than follow such a guide. It is not easy to explain terms such as lambrequins et dentelles, but a glance at the illustrations of Rouen ware will show quite clearly the ornamental strips, with arabesque designs, somewhat resembling scallops and other forms of lace, upon a dark ground. This decoration, modified from Oriental sources, shows the influence of B6rain and other French designers, who were responsible for the introduction of baskets of flowers, which formed the central ornaments, and of wreaths and branches of flowers, painted in blue, blue and red, or polychrome. From the same Oriental source came another style, in which the cornucopia formed the leading feature, from which issued stems bearing the flowers of the peony, pomegranate, and pink, whilst above and around were birds, butterflies, and insects. Sometimes, too, we find that fanciful rock-work which is so often a part of the design in old Chinese porcelain. This Rouen style d la corne was nearly always painted in polychrome.
Remembering the analogies between the productions of this and other towns which copied them, and the factories which received legal sanction of whose wares we are ignorant, the several genres of Rouen ware require little further attention. First comes the faience, decorated with lambrequins, garlands of flowers, etc., in blue, blue and red, and simple polychrome, which has a sub-section painted with blue and black, and another in which a brilliant green, vert de casivye, appears in the polychromes. Next arises the Oriental-Rouen, the chief decoration being the cornucopia or horn of abundance, charged with pomegranates and flowers, with birds, butterflies, and insects painted in vivid polychrome. This has a sub-section in which lemon yellow confuses Rouen ware with that of Sinceny.
The known marks are few: faitt d Rouen 1647 is said to belong to Poterat ; Mrs. Guillibeaux has been given ; Borne, Pinxit Anno 1738; a badly written Vavasseur, with old-style f for s ; and Dieul, an artist, Dieu, with a flourish like 1 at the end of his name, who painted some of the cornucopias. With such slight material the collector must be content, relying upon the judgment which alone can be formed by an intimate acquaintance with the ware as evaluated in the museums or in the cabinets of the cognoscenti.