Oval shape dish, everted brim in relief, converging inner wall; decoration in relief on the inner surface; outer wavy surface. Molded majolica, polychrome sub-painted: two tones in yellow, light green, azurite, manganese brown and rose colored skin; on the outer, marbled manganese. Complex representation: on the brim, daisy flowers in squared elements; on inner wall branches surrounded by rectangles, divided by high relief rods; on the inner surface, the royal family of France in low relief: on the right Henry II with hat, seated on a benches close to one of his son; on the left, on the background, crowned Caterina de’ Medici is depicted seated on a similar benches; the eldest daughter or governess hold on her legs the younger daughter, with the hand towards the father. Four standing figures, sons or courtiers. Set in the bedroom: on the right, a blue colored blanket on the bed; on the left, a tied curtain.
Cm. 30 x 26.
Cond.: very good; small abrasion on the infant face.
Rare plate of the versatile artist Bernard Palissy (1510-1589), depicting the royal family of France: Henry II, Caterina de’ Medici family and part of their progeny. Scientist, writer, painter, landscape architect, famous for the unusual pottery manufacturing. The main pottery theme is based on the natural world, small animal species, realized tutto tondo or high relief. The Conestabile Anne de Montmorency estimated his production and relied on him for Ecouen Castle decoration; at last, the Conestabile introduced him to Caterina entourage. Palissy opened a workshop near Tuileries, discovered during Grand Louvre works (1983–1990). The thousand terracotta fragments - from atelier and artificial cave - confirms Bernard Palissy as the major exponent of French decorative arts of XVI century. The plate is a gratitude gift to Caterina. Only two comparisons are known, one at the Ecouen Museum, the other in a private collection. Few differences sub-exist with Ecouen plate, in particular in the main figures, probably for handmade manipulation. The rich and original brim is an example of the great artistic talent of Bernard, for the lace and crochet details, as written in his biography, dated in 1844. Paul-Antoine Cap (1788-1877) was a famous French pharmacologist and naturalist and he alludes to this plate, ascribing the brim to only Bernard and “the royal family” to his sons Nicolas e Mathurin. The plate is dated before the Henry II death, in 1561.
[References: Oeuvres complète de Bernard Palissy èdition conforme aux textes originaux imprimès du vivant de l’auter avec des notes et une notice historique par Paul Antoine CAP JJ D PARIS 1844, note pp. XVI-XVII].