17 November 2021

Rouen et la poterie appelée « faïence »

The city of Rouen is well known for a style of pottery produced there, especially in past centuries. It's called faïence de Rouenfaïence is "earthenware" or "crockery" in English. Earthenware is made from terra cotta (clay) and then coated with a tin glaze before being fired in a kiln. It's a non-vitreous pottery. The name comes from the town of Faenza in Italy, and it's one of the world's oldest styles of pottery.

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According to the Wikipedia article about faience, the first well-known painter of faience in France
began producing such pottery in Rouen in the 1530s. In the 17th century, Rouen and the town of
Nevers on the Loire river were the two mains centers of faience production.

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Many other towns and cities around France began production of faience in the 18th century and became known
for glazes using different motifs and designs. Production declined starting in the 19th century.

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One of the remaining producers of Rouen faience is the Fayencerie Augy in the historic center of the city,
near the cathedral. I think that's where I took these photos in the early 2000s.


  1. Some of these pieces are really beautiful.
    My father used to collect 18th century faïence and china plates and pieces. I have what I think are a blue Rouen faïence hexagonal plate and an oblong china plate. You might remember seeing on the small dresser in the hall of my apartment two Nevers apothecary pots and in the living room a yellow Moustiers cache-pot.

  2. It's interesting to see so many different patterns of faïence, all together.

  3. Interesting that it's a tin glaze that makes them white. I'm partial to the blue and white plate in the last photo.

  4. Faience has always interested me, however, Rouen never appeared in any of my observations. We made sure to visit Moustiers and we purchased a masque and another small piece that would travel easily (perhaps a small vase). You have enlightened me, Ken, with all that I missed when I visited this dear city. Many things to see and visit when I am able to travel again.

  5. Hi Mary,
    A few years ogo, my nieces offered me a lovely Moustiers soap dish with a towel one of them embroidered with my CHM initials.

    1. How sweet of your nieces to get the dish and especially the towel with your initials! The history of Moustiers is part of the reason we were drawn to the little town up on the hill! I can't fathom how someone was able to get a star on a cord across the ravine to the other side! The market was in town that cold day in December but there wasn't much happening and very few tourists (that was in 2000, there was snow still on the trees and streets in Avignon when I arrived by the TGV.)

    2. I never used that towel just to keep it pristine. Yes that was very sweet of them.


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