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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 )
Towards the end of the seventeenth century, and during the whole of the eighteenth, important manufactures of decorated faience were in full swing at Moustiers, a small country town amongst the mountains in a picturesque corner of the department of the Basses-Alpes. Marseilles was making similar ware during the same period, and, curiously enough, the Clerissy family of potters furnished the first recorded names in both towns, as we shall see ; but it must also be noted that other potteries were distributed over Provence, inspired by the productions of these two great centres.
The characteristic of the faience of Moustiers is its beautiful decoration, at first in blue camaieu, then in polychrome, painted on a ground of white enamel, very pure and full. This decoration was executed upon email cru and fired at the grand f eu, a process which allowed no retouching, and which permitted the employment of but few colours, whilst decoration on the email cuit allows many more to be used and fixed at a lower temperature. On the email cru the firing causes the colours to sink into the body, whilst when they are painted over the glaze they only adhere to the surface just as in painting on porcelain.
In the archives of Moustiers the qualification of faiencier was given to Pierre Cl6rissy in the year 1679. Before that date he was mentioned as a potter. Three years later Fran~ois Viry, a painter of Riez, was engaged " to serve duly and well for the painting of fa3ence." It is very difficult to determine the pieces made at this first period.
When Jean-Baptiste and Gaspard Viry, sons of Francois, became the chief decorators at Moustiexs, some fine work was executed, such as beautiful basins, with lion's masks and clawed feet, with free ornament ; fine large dishes, both round and oval, with biblical and mythological designs, after Frans Floris or Merian, and hunting scenes after the engravings of Tempesta, including the " Bear-hunt," the " Lionhunt," the " Tiger-hunt," and many others. On the borders the pieces were large friezes of branches, masks, chimeras, and foliage. All these products were painted in blue, the design being pierced upon a paper pattern first, then this was placed upon the email cru and dabbed with a little sachet containing powdered charcoal, so that the designer had simply to follow the points with his brush. This method of working by the aid of poncifs was only used by the inferior artists, and when they had to reproduce any given pattern.
Under the influence of the decorators of the period appeared the ornamentation named Berain's, of which an example is given in the illustration ; caryatides, busts, grotesque satyrs, canopies, terraces, coats-of-arms, portraits and ballets adorning the centre of the pieces. Eight fabriques, directed by members of the Clerissy family, or by workmen who had served Pierre Clerissy, were in full activity in 1728, when he died. They continued the decoration in blue. Five years later Joseph Olerys, a faiencier of Marseilles, returning from Alcora, in Spain, where he had been directing the faience establishment of the Count of Aranda, imported to Moustiers the decoration in polychrome.
From this time the style of decoration changed. Medallions painted with naive and fine mythological subjects, surrounded with garlands of flowers or framed with scrolls or rock-work, ornamented the interior base of dishes, and the exterior surface of vases, etc., whilst the borders and the feet had other garlands of flowers or decorated arches. Amongst many articles made here may be found some fine specimens of fountains, ewers, basins, sugar-bowls, porringers and covers, cups, and powder-boxes which issued from the works of the master - faiencer, who had numerous associates, notably Baron, Langier, and Pelloquin, whose initials are found sometimes united to the usual monogram of the Olerys.
They also made many pieces ornamented with grotesque figures, called " Callots," executed some times in polychrome, sometimes in green, yellow, or manganese purple. The faience decorated with rock-work shells, foliage, and scrolls massed together in the rococo style, and with trophies of flags, known as the fanfare design, marked still another period. So did that with the potato flower. Then came the decadence which was followed by a remarkable progress in modern methods. The art of the old faiencers was imitated by many manufacturersFerrat, Fouque, Ferraud, etc.-who extended their operations, including the wares of Marseilles and Strasburg amongst their reproductions, which are generally decorated over the glaze.