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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 - Marseilles

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

The first faience of Marseilles, like that of Moustiers, was decorated in under-glaze blue au grand feu, but the outlines were traced in violet of manganese, which formed a setting for the design and served also to accentuate it without the use of polychromes. This point deserves attention, for later come green, yellow, and red.

It was at St.-Jean-du-Desert, a suburb of Marseilles, that the first pieces of faience were made. The family of Cl6rissy from Moustiers succeeded in establishing itself here, and many workmen followed them, with the result that they produced ware closely resembling that which they had made in their earlier home. At first this was not so, for the Nevers style had been practised before they came ; the dishes with pierced and goffered borders, the pieces with twisted handles, seemed to continue the Nevers traditions; but the Moustiers paintings of subjects after Tempesta, the " Lion-hunt," the " Tiger-hunt," etc., were also produced, so that it is difficult to separate some of the products of St. Jean-du-Desert from those of Moustiers.

Fortunately a few old pieces were signed, and these have enabled the local authorities to classify certain dishes and basins which otherwise would have been ascribed to the earlier factory. Such examples, with the mark "Fay. A. St.-Jean-du-Desert. Viry," or " A Clerissy d Saint-Jean-du-Desert 1718," were exhibited at Marseilles in 1906; and another piece, a large dish, with a " Lion-hunt " after Tempesta, described by Jacquemart, bore the inscription on its back, " A. Clerissy, d Saint-Jean-du-Dezert, 1697, d Marseille."

This faience resembled that of Moustiers in its enamel colouring, which was not perfectly white, but had a faint bluish tinge, yet the violet outlines to which reference has been made give an undoubted index of origin. They speak of Marseilles. Often, besides, a cursive C or the letters AC indicate the same fabrique or factory. Viry's connection with the works is shown later.

Another, under the direction of Joseph Fauchier, was carried on in the village of Saint-Lazare at Marseilles. This was founded in 1696 by J. B. Delaresse, whose productions are unknown, but we do know that on March 29, 1709, he transferred his interest to Anne Clerissy. There were made the figures of "The Virgin and Child," one of which was marked on the base " J. Fauchier 1735," and another with the initial F, which appears to have been the mark, though not often used. Perfect modelling distinguished these pieces, and the bas-reliefs and medallions were equally good. Then, too, the beauty of the white enamel was incomparable, enhanced by the finest enamels in polychrome. Many basreliefs attributed to Moustiers and to Aubagne really came from the kilns of Fauchier, whose work was continued by his nephew, under whom the mark Fabrique de Fauchier was occasionally used, notably upon a sauce-boat of shell form, on feet, having a duck's head at one end, and decoration of bouquets in colours, inside and out.

Similar technical excellence marks the productions of Le Roy, whose existence was revealed by a fine specimen in the Sevres Museum, signed below, Fabrique de Marseille. Le Roy. Since then, however, other pieces decorated au grand feu, in the same style, have been assigned to this little-known fabrique. Amongst them a plate with the monogram L.R., for Le Roy, might have been ascribed to Rouen, for its polychrome ornament resembled it so closely. Yet it was quite like the Sevres piece. Hence it is probable that in other coloured faience, because of the decoration, the works of Le Roy and Fauchier are confounded with those of the fabriques of the North of France.

The time came when the sober yet powerful decoration au grand feu, as practised by those of whom we have read, gave place to that upon the glaze, sur email cuit-more fit, perhaps, to interpret the pretty subjects of Watteau, Boucfler, and Pillement, as well as the landscapes of Hubert, Robert, and the seascapes of Vernet. From the middle of the eighteenth century onwards arose numerous manufacturers of faience-Savy, Robert, Bonnefoy, and the widow Perrin being the chief-who vied with each other in the production of beautiful forms, with a pure enamel, painted with rustic lovers, views, birds, flowers, insects, Chinese subjects, etc. Each of these made many exceptional pieces, some of which, without exaggeration, are masterpieces.

Honore Savy's fabrique was in existence in 1749, although it was sixteen years later when he perfected his inimitable green enamel, a rich and translucent monochrome-camaieu vert-which is found on ware which bears no mark such as the fleur de lis, adopted by Savy after the visit of Monsieur, Count of Provence, brother of the King, to his factory in 1777. He permitted the potter to use the title of Manufacture de Monsieur, frere du Roi, for his establishment. The widow Perrin made wares with green decoration, but the green was paler than that employed by Savy. So did J. Robert, and signed them with his monogram. A description of a basket made at the f abrique of Savy recalls to mind the form of the Worcester open-work baskets, though the latter are in porcelain, not in faience: " baskets of oval form in open-work, with a handle. The decoration in green consists of small flowers in green upon the intersections ; the interior is painted with a Teniers landscape." Polychrome decoration was also employed. It is very rarely that the green pieces are marked. Those in the Sevres Museum, which bear Savy's mark, have no analogy with those which are commonly attributed to him by collectors. Jacquemart says that there exist so many productions on which the fleur de lis is found that one must seriously study their origin before applying it to one factory, but the local savants at Marseilles accept the mark as that of Savy, without claiming it as his monopoly.

In the same neighbourhood was the establishment of Joseph Gaspard Robert, whose faience often had gold decoration of fine quality. In 1777 Monsieur, Count of Provence, found the factory in full operation, producing wares of great technical and artistic value in both faience and porcelain. Sometimes they bear the monogram of the initials of the manufacturer, more frequently the single letter R or R.

Another distinguished potter at Marseilles was a woman, the widow Perrin-Veuve Perrin-whose monogram, VP, is often found on specimens of excellent quality: services decorated with views of land and sea, with birds and flowers, and with Chinese subjects, not only painted, but in relief. Every kind of enamel, every variety of ornament, and an unlimited number of forms appear to have been in use in this factory. Special mention must be made of a delicate vert d'eau enamel, and a yellow, formerly attributed entirely to Montpellier, but which was also produced by the nephew of Fauchier, who appears to have maintained the process of firing his pieces au grand f eu, whilst the other potters shared in the triumph of a more refined decoration an Petit feu.

A name but little known has during the last few years excited the attention of collectors. Antoine Bonnefoi or Bonnefoy, whose fabrique was near the Aubagne Gate of Marseilles, produced works which show perfection in enamel and in the beauty of decoration. Some of them are marked with B, I quote a few sentences which describe some pieces which have been secured from the descendants of the potter: " A round plate painted with a fineness and richness of colouring, incomparable: another round plate, as the last, with decora tion and enamel, introuvable in quality." Again, " these are inestimable pieces, impossible to replace in case of destruction, of which the decoration is equal to the best miniatures of the period."

The renown of the Marseilles faience dates from the beginning of the decadence of Italian majolica. At the first, heavy pieces of ware received a decoration, which was entirely blue, a colour obtained by a mixture of zaffre and smalt ; then followed polychrome decoration, in which blues, browns, yellows, blacks, and violets were prominent in scenes which passed through a range of biblical, mythological, and hunting subjects, into a second period, where miniature and medallion paintings of objects the most diverse were painted by skilled artists, some of whom were fugitives from Sevres who were employed by J. Robert and Bonnefoy. In this period, too, the decorative designs of Berain, Boule, and Callot characterised the faience of Marseilles, which shared with Moustiers the honour of being the principal centre of the ceramic art of Provence.

Quite recently a remarkable volume has appeared on " La Faience et la Porcelaine de Marseille," of which the author is 1'Abbe G. Arnaud d'Agnel, who supplies some four hundred illustrations, which reveal the wonderful variety of types which this faience presents, as well as the richness and brilliance of its decoration. The influence of other French wares upon it is clearly shown-Rouen, Nevers, Strasburg, for example. One document deserves special mention; that is a contract of partnership between Robert and a potter named Dortu, from the Berlin factory. The latter engaged to direct Robert's pottery, and to utilise all the secrets he possessed, in return for a share of the profits in the business, for which Robert was to furnish the buildings, tools, and working capital.

The author amplifies what has been said earlier in this chapter with regard to the interrelation of the manufacturers of Marseilles. He clears up certain points regarding Clerissy and Viry, for example, and shows that a banker, Joseph Fabre, financed the works which the former started. A short precis will serve. Clerissy, till 1677, was at Moustiers, and when he settled in Marseilles, he employed Jean Pelletier and Sauver Carbonel as his chief workmen, and engaged apprenticesViry and Francois in 1679, Thion, Simon, and Roux a little later.

Before Cl6rissy died, in 1685, his daughter Genevi6ve had been married to Carbonel, who became the real director on his death, though Clerissy's widow, nee Anne Roux, continued the nominal management. In a year's time she married Viry, but only lived for eight years more, when Joseph Fabre, convinced of the ineptitude of Viry as a business man, displaced him, and accepted Antoine Clerissy, the eldest son of Joseph, as his tenant. He it was who made the dish which we mentioned, and signed it. A few years later Joseph Clerissy, brother of Antoine, came from his own pottery at Varages to work with him at St.-Jean-du-Desert till 1714, when Antoine sold his share of the business, and Joseph remained at the head of the local potters for another twentynine years.

The similarity of other productions is emphasized also when we learn that the Leroys, through their mother, were relatives of the distinguished master-potter Fauchier, and Antoine Bonnefoy or Bonnefoi learnt his art as an apprentice to Robert. It becomes easy to discern the wares made at St.-Jean-du-Desert by Clerissy and Viry, and the complete classification of Marseilles ware will not long be delayed, for many names have been found which are given amongst the marks. Formerly a few only were known-now we have these: A. Clerissy a St.-Jean-du-Desert, 1718, and the monogram A. C. ; Fait a Marseille chez F. Viry, 1681 ; Francois Fauchier, 1727; Joseph Fauchier, 1725, and F monogram; Fabrique de Marsae Le Roy and R monogram; Veuve Perrin and V. P, monogram; Robert et Etien ; Robert A Marseille, with ' R' and other R monograms, such as E. R. X, R L ; Savy, with monogram C above S, or with the fleur-de-lis mark; and Bonnefoy, with monogram B or A B interlaced.


The yellow glazed pottery which was made at Apt had its origin at Castellet. By the exertions of M. Moulin this kind of ware acquired some fame for its fine ornament in relief, which was designed with considerable taste. His successor, Abbe Moulin, went farther in the same direction, so that the ware was in such demand that, about 1785, a second f fabrique was founded by M. Bonnet, whose descendants have continued the business to our own times. The productions of Apt do not partake of the usual character of French faience, resembling rather English earthenware. The town, not shown on the map, is in the Vaucluse department, about forty miles north of Marseilles.

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