French Renaissance Ceramics

  • Overview

    The three objects in this tour are examples of "Saint-Porchaire" ware, one of the rarest and most mysterious of all types of Renaissance ceramics.

    French 16th Century, probably Saint-Porchaire (Deux-Sevres), or Paris region, Candlestick, c. 1547/1559, lead-glazed fine earthenware, 29.5 cm x 16.6 cm, Widener Collection, 1942.9.352

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  • Saint-Porchaire is recognized by its richly patterned layer of colorful paste decoration inlaid into a "clay skin"; its assembly from parts made through a variety of techniques such as molding, wheel-throwing, and hand modeling; and its uniform fine white clay that shrinks little in firing.

    French 16th Century, probably Saint-Porchaire (Deux-Sevres), or Paris region, Cup on high foot with the royal arms of France crowned, c. 1540/1560, lead-glazed fine earthenware, 13.6 x 15.4 cm, Widener Collection, 1942.9.351

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  • Fewer than eighty examples are recorded, and the commonest forms are salt cellars, cups, ewers, and candlesticks, most in distinctive bizarre and fantastic designs. What is known is that a wide variety of techniques was used, the type of clay is found in relatively few places, and these ceramics were probably made by a single workshop.

    French 16th Century, probably Saint-Porchaire (Deux-Sevres), Salt, c. 1540/1560, lead-glazed fine earthenware, 12 cm, Widener Collection, 1942.9.353

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