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Sauce boat
  • Sauce boat
    Palissy, Bernard, born 1510 - died 1590
  • Enlarge image

Sauce boat

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1550-1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Palissy, Bernard, born 1510 - died 1590 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lead-glazed earthenware

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by George Salting, Esq.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery, case 15

As early as the 16th century, the French led Europe in matters of sophisticated dining. The novel products of Bernard Palissy, which successfully combined design elements of metalwork and ceramics, would have complemented the elaborately prepared food and the table settings of the period.

Physical description

Lead-glazed earthenware vessel (possibly a sauceboat or a drinking vessel) with figures of Bacchus and Ceres.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


ca.1550-1600 (made)


Palissy, Bernard, born 1510 - died 1590 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Lead-glazed earthenware


Height: 7.6 cm, Width: 12 cm, Depth: 20.3 cm, Weight: 0.28 kg

Object history note

Historical significance: The skillfully crafted and elaborately decorated ceramics of Bernard Palissy and his atelier are closely associated with the patronage of the nobility. Sophisticated dining implements, such as this, would have been displayed and used at grand dinners and other special occasions. Guests would have been impressed by the virtuosity of the object and also amused as the contents drained away to reveal the figures beneath. The depiction of Ceres and Bacchus reflects the contemporary preoccupation with the appropriatness of decoration to function.

Historical context note

The elaborate design of this sauce boat reflects the emerging sophistication and increased importance of dining as a refined and complex ceremonial occasiony. A similar sauceboat, decorated with a bathing nymph inside, can be found in the Musée des Beaux Arts, Paris.

Descriptive line

Lead-glazed earthenware vessel (possibly a sauceboat or drinking vessel) with figures of Bacchus and Ceres, second half of the 16th century.

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

Hildyard, Robin. European Ceramics. London : V&A Publications, 1999. 144 p., ill. ISBN 185177260X
Leonard N. Amico, Bernard Palissy, Flammarion, 1996


Earthenware; Lead glaze


Glazing (coating)


Ceramics; Images Online; Food vessels and Tableware; Eating


Ceramics Collection

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