Top 20 Ceramics

The Bowes Museum

The collections of porcelain and pottery gathered by John and Joséphine are of considerable importance for their size, range and quality. They come from many European countries, and date from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. They are mostly domestic pieces, but offer a comprehensive representation of European ceramics with pieces from almost every known factory.

Bernard Palissy was a French potter throughout the 16th century. He created ‘rustic' pottery by looking to the natural environment, taking casts of natural specimens.

These superb Dutch Delft vases date from the 18th century. They are marked for De Grieksche "The Greek A" factory, believed to be the marks of Adriaenus Koeks, his son Pieter and the latter's widow.

This beautifully hand painted figurine series depicts ‘the Four Seasons’. It is attributed to Wallendorf one of the oldest factories in Germany.
Spring is represented by a man; he wears a long tail coat to below the knee, with waistcoat and breaches in a shade of orange.

Winter is represented by a male figurine dressed in a long coat, with his hands tucked into a muff. He is raised on an irregular mound - presumably to resemble snow.

The figurine illustrates autumn, on her head is a circular hat with a flaring brim, the back part of which is turned up and surmounted by a flower painted brownish-red.

The female representing summer wears a three-quarter length dress, over a pinafore, it is pale purple in colour, the pinafore is black trimmed with turquoise flower heads and she wears, perched on her forehead an oval shaped upturned hat with elaborate trimmings and ribbon.

The Vezzi brothers obtained the secret of making hard-paste porcelain from a workman from the Vienna factory in 1720. The former goldsmiths then created their own factory that flourished throughout Italy until 1727.

This is one of a pair of Meissen vases, decorated on either side with lobed panels in a reserve against a canary yellow ground. The vase and the figure are from the estate of the seventh Earl Spencer and were allocated to The Bowes Museum in 1978.

Bearing the decorator's mark of Jean Pierre Le Doux this fabulous porcelain teapot (théière), is decorated in enamel colours and gold. The background shows ornate peacock feathers against a 'rose' or pink background.

Deruta ceramics are a highlight in the history of Italian pottery. They were very popular throughout the Renaissance period and became sought after by many affluent members of society.

This colourful plate is earthenware, painted in earth toned glazes, and uses naturalistic motifs in high relief.The dish is decorated in a typical Palissy fashion with a figurine of Roman deity Ceres, Goddess of Agriculture, in the centre and is oval on a raised foot.

This is a set of six plates in the Museum from a service sold to the unfortunate Marquis de Sémonville, French Ambassador to the Court of Turin (which refused to receive him) and later to the Court of Constantinople 1799.

Joséphine Bowes met the young Emile Gallé at the London International Exhibition of 1871 and commissioned a cabaret set from him of engraved glass, intended for perfumed water.

This cane handle is in the form of a grotesque human head the nostrils and lips are decorated in reddish brown enamel. It is part of a large collection of Chantilly porcelain (French soft-paste porcelain produced in the 18th century) within the Museum.

This is a fine figurine of Madame de Pompadour, the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 until her death. The figure is of Vincennes unglazed 'biscuit' porcelain.

Presumably one of a pair of vases listed in the Sèvres factory archives for 1839 'Vase Gothique Fragonard dans le style de la Renaissance’.

This saucer is soft-paste porcelain, painted in under glaze blue, marked with a motif and double-lined cross. It is shallow and raised on an inverted truncated conical foot rim.

These vases and covers are of the 'Kakiemon' style. The word 'Kakiemon' is sometimes used as a generic term describing wares made in the ‘Arita’ factories using the characteristics of ‘Kakiemon’ enamels and decorative styles.

A prominent figure in London society between the wars, Lady Ludlow was a close personal friend of Queen Mary, wife of George V; she bequeathed these two Bow peacock figures to the Queen, who later returned them as she is alleged to be afraid of "the evil eye on them."

This set of twenty-four wine glasses is one of the highlights of the collection. One of these is engraved with the Bowes arms and motto; the other a figure of a horse, whose attitudes vary between four stances within the set.

This figurine from 1760 shows three figurines of children watching a peep show. It is an example of ‘faience’ a form of tin-glazed earthenware originating in Italy and popular in France throughout the 18th century.

This pair of 'Art Tyle Panels' was purchased at the London International Exhibition, 1871. It is of lead-glazed earthenware, painted in colours.

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