Pottery wares known as “Saint-Porchaire” occupy a singular place in the history of French ceramics.
These luxury items made from very white clay, which are too fragile for use, stand out on account of the delicacy of their paste.
The Petit Palais has the privilege of owning three of these exceptional wares, of which scarcely more than seventy pieces are currently known in the world.
This candlestick displays two types of very refined decoration: firstly elements moulded in relief applied to the vase itself (figurines, crests, masks, shells, etc.), and secondly motifs of arabesques and tracery in coloured clay. The secret of this technique has only recently been discovered: the decorations are stamped from hollow or relief moulds either directly onto the object or onto a fine leaf of clay which is then stuck to the body of the object.
The Petit Palais candlestick features the French coat of arms and monogram of Henry II, as well as the arms of Anne de Montmorency, whose family owned land in Bressuire (Deux-Sèvres département) near Saint-Porchaire thought to be the possible place of origin of these wares.