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  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1590-1610 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Coloured lead-glazed earthenware, with moulding

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by George Salting, Esq.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 44, shelf 5

This jug shows the important contribution Bernard Palissy made to European pottery. He introduced sophisticated designs for humble earthenware by press-moulding pieces into shapes based on metalwork. Palissy also developed a range of suitable coloured glazes which could be used to enhance the moulded decoration.

Physical description

Ewer of white earthenware with moulded decoration coloured and glazed. Oval body, spreading foot, jutting lip and scroll handle. The body is moulded with two oval panels, coloured with blue, yellow, purple, white and green, representing the Elements: (1) Earth, moulded from a panel occuring on the Temperantia dish Francois Briot; a woman reclinging amongst flowers and fruit with a squirrel at her feet, in the foreground of a landscape with distant figures of husbandmen and huntsmen; (2) Water: a woman reclining with an urn from which water flows; a landscape with castle and bridge in the background. The panels are surrounded by foliated scrollwork and in the front a woman's mask, at the back a lion's mask, variously coloured in blue, yellow and green against a blue ground. The lower part of the body is gadrooned in yellow relief. The lid has a foliated grinning mask on the outer side and the handle is moulded with a figure of a woman, her hand resting on a cornucopia, and with an acanthus leaf. The interior is marbelled in blue, brown and green.

Place of Origin

France (made)


ca. 1590-1610 (made)


Unknown (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Coloured lead-glazed earthenware, with moulding


Height: 27.4 cm, Width: 20.7 cm, Depth: 15.7 cm, Weight: 1.19 kg

Object history note

(1909) Thought to have been made by Bernard Palissy or his school and dated to the second half of the 16th century.

Descriptive line

Ewer, coloured lead-glazed earthenware moulded with Earth and Water, French, possibly Fontainebleau, about 1590-1610.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Hildyard, Robin. European Ceramics. London : V&A Publications, 1999. 144 p., ill. ISBN 185177260X
Sauzay et Delange

Labels and date

EWER in the 'Fontainebleau' style
About 1590-1610
Follower of Bernard Palissy (1510-90)

The 'strapwork' cartouches with reclining nude figures, representing Earth and Water, are typical of the so-called 'Fontainebleau' style. Created in the 1530s by Italian artists at the palace of Francis I at Fontainebleau, this style soon spread throughout the decorative arts. The figure representing Earth on the ewer was probably moulded from a famous pewter dish by François Briout.


Lead-glazed earthenware

Museum no. C.2306-1910
Salting Bequest [2008]

Production Note

Possibly made at Fontainebleau




Glazing (coating)

Subjects depicted

Nude; Water; Flowers; Earth; Trees; Sun


Ceramics; Earthenware


Ceramics Collection

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