Basin

Blue earthenware basin with a scene of three figures at the center and plants around the edge in white

Basin
Possibly forming a set with Ewer
Nevers, ca. 1680
Faience (tin-glazed earthenware)
H. 19 1/4 in. (49 cm), L. 22 3/4 in. (58 cm)
Cat. 19
© Camille Leprince

 

This recently discovered basin and the ewer are the most beautiful known pieces made with the famous dark blue background known as “Nevers blue,” invented in the second half of the seventeenth century in Nevers. Their shapes recall silver pieces used at the court of Louis XIV while their painted decoration — with figures wearing turbans, a shepherdess spinning a distaff, and peddlers — is inspired by early seventeenth-century French literature, including the novel L’Astrée by Honoré d’Urfé, published between 1607 and 1627.

These two exceptional pieces were originally intended for display during a banquet on a credenza, temporarily set up either inside a royal or princely residence, or outside, in a lavish jardin à la française.