Oval Dish, School of Palissy, France, c.1590-1620


This glazed earthenware footed dish is moulded in relief with an allegorical scene depicting Earth, from the Four Elements, with Pomona holding a cornucopia brimming with produce in her left hand and a bouquet in her right. Fruit and vegetables, including a pomegranate and a squash, lie at her feet, and the background is impressed TERRA. Animals such as a camel, elephant, rabbit and snake roam the earth around her, and God can be seen to the right, breathing life into man. The colours really are splendid. The cavetto is decorated with mottled blue and manganese, as is the underside. The image is taken from an engraving by Adriaen Collaert, which he adapted from his earlier engraving of 1580-84 after a drawing by Maarten de Vos (see below).

Dishes from the same mould are illustrated in Céramiques de Bernard Palissy (Alan Gibbon, 1986, Plate 51), where they are attributed to Avon, c.1600, and in Les suites de Palissy, une vaisselle d'apparat et une vision de monde (Jean Bergeret, Les céramiques du Pré d'Auge, 2004, pp.82-97), where it is not given a particular attribution beyond School of Palissy, after 1580-90 and up to the beginning of the 17th century. Bergeret suggests that while it is possible to identify certain pieces as having been conceived and created in the Pré d'Auge, it is not possible to say this for certain with all them, in which case he has left them unattributed within the School of Palissy.

Condition: The dish has a couple of tiny flat chips to the outer edge, and a small, restored chip to the rim. There are also one or two small, shallow chips to the upper edge of the foot, and some wear to the glaze on the moulded high points of the central scene. Typical firing and manufacturing flaws, including impurities to the body and glaze.

Dimensions: Length 27.8 cm

Céramiques de Bernard Palissy, Alan Gibbon (Séguier, 1986).

Les céramiques du Pré d'Auge (Musée de Lisieux, 2004).



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Above, engraving by Adriaen Collaert, adapted from his earlier engraving of 1580-84 after a drawing by Maarten de Vos