c. 1770
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General Description

Marseilles, France was an important center of faience production in the 18th century, with as many as eleven separate factories working at the same time. Its busy port and local school of painters made it a site conducive to the production of decorative ceramics which were consumed both locally and abroad. The faience decorated in Marseilles after 1750 is delicate sometimes as elaborate as those produced by urban silversmiths. In this way, Marseilles wares were provincial in the best sense of the term: the inspirations were drawn from the changing tastes of the metropolitan court, but transformed into expressions of the local idiom. The result is a pleasing blend of style and beauty, exemplified by this tureen in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art.

The overall shape of this tureen is typical of Marseilles tureens—low to the surface and long and ovoid. Its molded Rococo ornament is rustic in the representation of intertwined branches for the cover handle. The soft, muted colors of green and purple are adapted to the naturalistic scenes they embellish. These colors are often associated with the work of Honore Savy, who maintained his own very successful factory after 1764. He claimed to have invented the beautiful enamel green color, which was used as a wash over drawing in black as seen here.

Drawn from

  • Arthur Lane, French Faience, (New York: D. Van Nostrand Co., 1948), 28-30.

  • DMA unpublished material.