Languedoc Faience 16th - 18th century

The art of faience appeared in Montpellier at the end of the 16th century. The growth of demand was due to the development of hospitals and apothecaries for whom many different vessels were needed to contain the rich pharmacopoeia of the period. The oldest pieces are attributed to Pierre Estève and show the influence of Italy with the polychrome palette limited to blue, green, yellow and purple-brown. In the 17th century, characteristic pieces were large, high-fired, pharmacy vases decorated in monochrome blue and brown, very similar to wares produced in Marseille at the same time. The decorative Chinoiserie exotic decorations and rural scenes could also be found on tiles. The largest manufactory was owned by Jacques Olivier and it obtained a royal privilege in 1725. At the start of the 18th century, it developed a large production of faience decorated in the highly graphic Berain style, in monochrome blue and contemporary with models made by the Clérissy pottery in Moustiers.