Vase

ca. 1895-1900 (made)
Vase thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 145
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This vase is by the French ceramicist Ernest Chaplet (1835-1909). Chaplet trained at Sèvres in decoration, design and ceramic techniques and went on to work at Choisy-le-Roi, then for the Laurin pottery at Bourg-la-Reine and from 1875 for the Limoges company, Charles Haviland & cie, in a workshop at Auteuil, developing new techniques on stoneware and porcelain. In the early 1880s he moved to a new Haviland studio in Vaugirard, Paris which was ceded to him in 1887. He worked there independently and became increasingly preoccupied with the relationship between material, form and colour, experimenting endlessly.

The distinctive colouring of this vase demonstrates Chaplet's interest in glaze effects and is inspired by Chinese ceramics. The high-temperature copper-red flammée glazes of 18th century Chinese porcelain became the subject of intensive research and experiment in the years around 1900, both by factories and individual makers. Their re-creation depended entirely on the potter's knowledge of chemistry as well as his skill at firing these dramatic and unpredictable glazes. The technique produced a range of colours from a deep bright red through a spectrum of violet, blue, green, purple and combinations of all of these. Chaplet kept his own recipes a closely guarded secret. Towards the end of his life, when blindness brought his career as a potter to its end, Chaplet destroyed all his notebooks.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Porcelain, with flammée glaze
Brief Description
Vase, France (Choisy-le-Roi); made by Ernest Chaplet; ca. 1895-1900
Physical Description
Porcelain vase with a flammée glaze. Globular with short neck.
Dimensions
  • Height: 9.8cm
  • Diameter: 7cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Circle of dots around a cross, impressed (The circle of dots in the form of a rosary is a play on the potter's name, 'chaplet')
Gallery Label
'American and European Art and Design 1800-1900' Ernest Chaplet was one of the most influential of the French ceramists working with glazes fired at great heat and known as 'flambé', or 'flammé'. This difficult and unpredictable technique combined the application of glazes on hard porcelain with a firing in which flames contact the glazes. The atmosphere known as reducing or oxidising condition within the kiln is rendered gaseous by controlled starvation of the oxygen flow through the fire mouths and the extremely high temperatures reached. Chaplet is believed to have fired at temperatures up to 1350 degrees Celsius.(1987-2006)
Object history
Purchased from Berguin et Varangier, 26 Rue Vignon, Paris



Historical significance: Ernest Chaplet (1835-1909), born at Sèvres, began work at the State factory at the age of 12. He became a highly skilled ceramicist working in potteries at Choisy-le-Roi and Bourg-la-Reine and then for the Limoges manufacturers, the Haviland brothers at a new workshop in Auteuil. In 1881 Haviland provided him with a studio at rue Blomet, Vaugirard, Paris. There he developed high temperature glazes on porcelain, and on stoneware. In 1886 he bought the workshop and concentrated on these glazes, as an independent potter, keeping his glazes recipes and firing temperatures a closely-guarded secret. He was regarded by his contemporaries as the consummate ceramicist. Chaplet sold the workshop to August Delaherche in 1887 and moved back to Choisy-le-Roi where he specialised in porcelain.
Historical context
Ernest Chaplet was one of the most influential of the French ceramists working with glazes fired at great heat and known as 'flambé', or 'flammé'. This difficult and unpredictable technique combined the application of glazes on hard porcelain with a firing in which flames contact the glazes. The atmosphere known as reducing or oxidising condition within the kiln is rendered gaseous by controlled starvation of the oxygen flow through the fire mouths and the extremely high temperatures reached. Chaplet is believed to have fired at temperatures up to 1350 degrees Celsius.
Summary
This vase is by the French ceramicist Ernest Chaplet (1835-1909). Chaplet trained at Sèvres in decoration, design and ceramic techniques and went on to work at Choisy-le-Roi, then for the Laurin pottery at Bourg-la-Reine and from 1875 for the Limoges company, Charles Haviland & cie, in a workshop at Auteuil, developing new techniques on stoneware and porcelain. In the early 1880s he moved to a new Haviland studio in Vaugirard, Paris which was ceded to him in 1887. He worked there independently and became increasingly preoccupied with the relationship between material, form and colour, experimenting endlessly.



The distinctive colouring of this vase demonstrates Chaplet's interest in glaze effects and is inspired by Chinese ceramics. The high-temperature copper-red flammée glazes of 18th century Chinese porcelain became the subject of intensive research and experiment in the years around 1900, both by factories and individual makers. Their re-creation depended entirely on the potter's knowledge of chemistry as well as his skill at firing these dramatic and unpredictable glazes. The technique produced a range of colours from a deep bright red through a spectrum of violet, blue, green, purple and combinations of all of these. Chaplet kept his own recipes a closely guarded secret. Towards the end of his life, when blindness brought his career as a potter to its end, Chaplet destroyed all his notebooks.
Bibliographic References
  • Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs: Ernest Chaplet, catalogue, 1976 d'Albis, J.: 'Chaplet Master Potter', in Connoisseur, ?June, 1976, pp129-136 Roger-Marx: 'Souvenirs sur Ernest Chaplet'; Art et Decoration, xxvii, Jan-June, 1910, pp.89-98
  • Greenhalgh, Paul (Ed.), Art Nouveau: 1890-1914 . London: V&A Publications, 2000pp.196-7, 204
Collection
Accession Number
1496-1900

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record createdMarch 15, 2006
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