Antique polychrome Rouen faience plate with lambrequin style border along with garlands and medallions from the c1730 to 1750 period (hence the c1740 mid-date). A hand full of French potteries located along the Seine River and down stream from Paris to Rouen produced similar faience wares decorated like the plate listed here in the early to mid 1700s. And for those who may prefer the native language (and please pardon my attempt), Assiette en faience de Rouen (sur Seine) d’un superbe decort polychrome et avec le bassin panier fleuris au centre et a la midi de la 18 eme siecle. And as always for all my offerings, authenticity and age are guaranteed for this faience plate.
French faience more than 225 years old is seldom offered today except through major auction venues and special sale events held by the most prestigious auctions house in the US, UK and of course, France (Christie's, Sotheby's, etc.). This plate is made of a reddish-pink bodied earthenware clay that is moderately high fired, dense and covered with an opaque greenish tinted tin glaze to mimic Oriental export porcelain of the same period. The rim design is a distinctly French interpretation of early 1700s Chinese polychrome export porcelain hand painted floral rim patterns. The outer edge of this plate is moderately thinly potted while the well is much thicker yielding a vessel that weighs about 1 lb (0.45 kg).
The colors on this plate are grand feu (high temperature colors) and thus very different from the majority of younger French faience seen on the market today. French faience produced before about 1780 exhibits distinct shades of green, blue and iron red that post c1780 faience variants fail to possess and these differences become even more visually distinct after about 1820. For example, the green on older pre1760 faience is less opaque, more translucent (see close up rim design) and will often bleed or produce a greenish haze or flown vapor effect on the immediate surrounding glaze when firing temperatures are maximum (see close-up photo of flower basket area). Additionally, the blue on pre1800 faience wares is not a bright blue as many post 1820s faience often reveal, but rather a dark blackish-blue that becomes a thin, almost ghostly grayish blue when drawing certain elements (see shading below basket in close up) with a pencil (the name given to a fine tipped brush). Finally, the brick red color is added last, remains raised on the glaze in comparison to the other colors and at times will display fine bubbling or pitting exacerbated by kiln heat during firing.
The central floral basket on this plate is common on some French faience of the 1720 to 1800 period and occurs on utilitarian Cul Noir Rouen faience (faience brune) kitchen wares as well as more elegant faience table wares rendered in high temperature polychrome colors (Grand Feu colors) as the plate offered here. The very detailed geometric border pattern is said to be stylized after French lace and embroidery of the period. And unlike later reproductions often done only in red and blue, the reverse or mirror images of the repetitive border design elements on this plate and period red & blue examples are perfectly executed whether facing left or right. Newer faience border motifs frequently reveal a decline or degeneration in quality and artistic ability to render identical images in reversed along borders and rims. Specifically, many post 1780s French faience wares show a crudeness and lack of symmetry when compared to examples dating from well before that decade.
The back side (reverse) of this plate displays three pin bar contact scars widely spaced around the underside of the rim. The scars are small bumps in the glaze caused by the methods used to remove the kiln furniture rods that stuck to the back of the plate. The largest pin bar contact scar is about 5/8 inches long by about 1/8 inches wide and is located at about 7 o’clock on back of plate (see photo of back of plate). The removal of the pin bar created some fine crazing lines right around the scar caused by the force needed to knock of the stuck kiln furniture piece (see close-up of largest pin bar scar).
An excellent study of monochrome and polychrome faience decorative rim patterns from the 1700s is found in the 2002 volume of Historical Archaeology by Waselkov and Walthall (2002: 62-68). The research is based on archaeological excavations of North American French colonial sites from the 18th century that have produced small numbers of high temperature polychrome faience sherds among much larger quantities of blue and white faience fragments dating mainly from the 1720s to 1780s [e.g., see published excavation reports from Fort Michilimackinac (Michigan), Los Adaes (Colonial Capital of New Spain in Louisiana), Nacogdoches (Texas), Quebec City, Fortress Louisbourg (Nova Scotia), Montreal, Fort Chartres (Illinois), New Orleans, Salem (Massachusetts), Deerfield (Massachusetts), Williamsburg (Virginia) to name just a few locations where faience sherds have been recovered from excavation conducted in last six decades, see also Noel Hume 1960:559-561; Walthall 1991:89-93, Waselkov and Walthall 2002:63-78, etc.]. These excavations have led to the development of a detailed classification of French Colonial tin glazed ceramics in North American in which various labels have been perfected such as FAIENCE BRUNE to distinguish tin glaze obverses combined with manganese darkened galena glazed reverses (Walthall 1991:89-93; also called Cul Noir by some collectors) as opposed to FAIENCE BLANCHE for the all white tin glazed faience whether decorated or left plain white (Ibid; Waselkov and Walthall 2002:63-78; etc).
At the time this plate was produced, more affluent merchant-traders and settlers in New France (Louisiana, Arkansas, on up to Illinois, Michigan, Northern New York, NW Pennsylvania, Quebec, Montreal, and other older settled areas of Newfoundland and southern Canada, etc., etc.) would have acquired some polychrome faience of this same quality, however most faience exported to colonial North American would have been more cheaply decorated. Finally, this antique faience plate also comes with a full satisfaction guarantee or you may return it post marked by 14 days for a refund (see my return policy below for full details). What major auction-house today provides the option to return an antique faience purchase two weeks after you originally received.
SIZE: This plate measures about 9 11/16 inches across at the rim (diameter) and stands 1 inch tall right along its outer rim edge. It weighs about 1 lb and sits on a slightly concave (upward) base that creates a residual foot rim with a diameter of about 5 1/2 inches across. It is a wonderful and rare example of antique French faience from the early to mid 1700s that will display well on a shelf, mantle, table or in a china cabinet or hutch and will certainly capture attention in most any setting.
CONDITION: This faience plate is in good condition with no loss of colored enamels and no major knife cuts or utensil scratches. It has two very tight hairlines that vary from 1 inch long (the one at about 7 o’clock on back of plate, see photos) to about 2 inches long (the at 1 o’clock on back of plate, see photos). Both hairlines end with glaze fissures that go off in different direction and do not extend into the body. The seventh photo shows where the two hairlines are located on the back of the plate. The glaze itself is 99.4% intact and exhibits just a few fine radial glaze crazing due to original production and the removal of kiln props (pin bar wedges). There are three pin bar scars on the back of the plate left behind by original firing methods and the removal of the largest pin bar contact created some fine glaze crazing right around it (see photo close-up of largest pin bar scar that is located at about 7 o’clock on back of plate). The clay body along the rim edge is intact despite the loss of about a dozen very small patches of glaze, ranging from about 1/8 inches long to 1/2 inches long with most in the 1/4 inch length or less. Beyond this, the plate has no other defects and no major body chips, no stains, no repairs and no restorations. A rare example of polychrome faience with authenticity absolutely guaranteed. Of course, if the buyer is not completely satisfied, then she/he may return this plate for a refund (see our full return policy noted below).
SHIPPING: All US mainland buyers pay $13.20 for well packed and insured USPS Priority Mail (this is an estimated savings of about $2 to $5 since insurance and tracking are also INCLUDED in the above quoted amount for all mainland US addresses). No handling or packing fees are ever charged and fragile items will be double packed for maximum protection. All international buyers will pay only the exact shipping costs for all verifiable locations outside the continental US mainland that are not covered by the flat rate quoted in the International shipping menu. The International buyer in other locations will also be asked to upgrade to an International shipping option with insurance against loss or damage (email us for an insured International shipping quote). We have shipped fragile items to 28 countries around the globe to date and have not had any items lost or broken, however this fact does not guarantee that no postal mishandling will ever occur in the future. Also, please note that International import duties, taxes and other charges are not included in the item price or shipping costs and these additional charges are the Buyer's responsibility. We do offer a petition for VAT relief on the behalf of the buyer which may help reduce certain import taxes should your country allow such petitions for items over 100 years old. Please check with your country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to purchasing this item -- thanks.
RETURN POLICY: Satisfaction and peace of mind are guaranteed for all Docs Antiques Ruby Lane listings -- please refer directly to our Service Pledge and our Return Policy for full details. And this means that if the buyer is unhappy with the purchase, then she/he may return it by sending the item back undamaged and post marked within ten days of original receipt for a refund (we offer 14 days on some items as a further convenience, certain shipping costs are non-refundable). Items damaged by shipping in the US are covered by insurance and while this rarely happens because we double pack, we will gladly help you file your insurance claim should it ever be necessary (we have not had any claims for damage or loss due to our packing methods in over eight years). Of course, never send an item back that has been damaged by shipping since that will void the original insurance. Instead, contact us for help and we will gladly assist.
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