Sauce Boat thumbnail 1
Sauce Boat thumbnail 2
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images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery

Sauce Boat

ca.1550-1600 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

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.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Lead-glazed earthenware
Brief description
Lead-glazed earthenware vessel (possibly a sauceboat or drinking vessel) with figures of Bacchus and Ceres, second half of the 16th century.
Physical description
Lead-glazed earthenware vessel (possibly a sauceboat or a drinking vessel) with figures of Bacchus and Ceres.
Dimensions
  • Height: 7.6cm
  • Width: 12cm
  • Depth: 20.3cm
  • Weight: 0.28kg
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Credit line
Bequeathed by George Salting, Esq.
Object history
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
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.
Subjects depicted
Summary
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.
Bibliographic references
  • Hildyard, Robin. European Ceramics. London : V&A Publications, 1999. 144 p., ill. ISBN 185177260X
  • Leonard N. Amico, Bernard Palissy, Flammarion, 1996
Collection
Accession number
C.2311-1910

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Record createdNovember 19, 2002
Record URL
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