Thursday, May 14, 2015

Faïence - French Tin-glazed Ceramics

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, considered a master of still life, provides us with glimpses into the everyday life of 18thC France. His paintings show exquisite details, down to the inner blue rim trim of Normandy blue on white faïence [tin-glazed pottery].

Archaeology collections in New-France shows us that Chardin's work can be used to reproduce and/or acquire 18thC household goods like faïence, utility wares and brass kettles. Grave goods associated with the Tunica Treasure in Mississippi show Native's appreciation of French ceramic wares.

A treasure box under a young boy's bed reveals broken sherds of faïence*, usually a type of eating plate found only in established areas, but found in this case, at 21-Mo-20, a French outpost in the wilds of Minnesota, and the possible location of the Fort Duquesne of Joseph Marin.
Broken personal accoutrements here highlight the type of life lived on the margins fully two and one half centuries ago--a life with faïence* dishes and glassware lugged deep into the bush and used for only a season and a half during the winter of 1752 and part of the following year. Not only do the faience sherds speak to the fineness of the table, but the design on one plate illustrates typical colonial French housing.

*1991 French Colonial Achaeology: The Illinois country and the western Great Lakes, edited by John A. Walthall. Springfield, IL

This post links to Stone Gable Blog the Scoop 171

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