PALISSY WARE IS NAMED AFTER BERNARD PALISSY THE FRENCH 16TH CENTURY CERAMIST
BERNARD PALISSY

Born. c.1510 Agen. Died. 1589 Paris.
 
  
 A visionary man of many talents though with no formal training, Bernard Palissy became a religious reformer, garden architect, land surveyor, glass painter, geologist, chemist, author, lecturer and philosopher, as well as being a ceramist. As a Huguenot convert he was persecuted and imprisoned for his religious beliefs, but at the same time  his patrons, Anne de Montmorency and queen Catherine de Medici , were the two most powerful people in France which explains his survival to a ripe old age of 80. However despite his many facets, this archetypical renaissance man, is mainly remembered today for his extraordinary ceramics .
 
   After many years of experimentation Bernard Palissy perfected lead glazed earthenware dishes decorated with various animals ( fish, crabs, snakes, lizards, frogs etc), shells, and plants in high relief. The flora and fauna of central France appear to come to life on the rocky surfaces glazed in transparent  lead glazes and engraved with wavy motifs suggesting water. This high degree of precision in the anatomical details and the vigorous naturalism are the result of the artist’s masterly technique of direct life casting from nature. His ornamental pieces, called ‘ Rustique Figulines’, constitute an original aspect of the dialogue throughout the Renaissance between nature and its imitation in art.
                      
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   In the 19th century the vogue for major historical figures led to the rediscovery of Bernard Palissy. In Tours  c.1840 a group of ceramists led by the Avisseau and Landais families perfected a  ‘Palissy ware’ style that was to spread throughout Europe.
 
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In 1993 a ‘ Damascene moment’ converted me to the ceramics of Bernard Palissy and I have been making Palissy ware ever since.