Large and elaborate Palissy ware platter, attributed to the factory of Victor and Achille Barbizet. The long fish, probably a pike, surrounded by plants, insects and amphibians. Plants include ferns and a water lily; insects include a dragonfly, moth and beetle; amphibians include a snake, frog, crayfish and small turtle. Interspersed are a snail and numerous shells. Each creature is realistically modelled and glazed.
France c. 1870
19.5" x 26"
Condition: Rim chip to the underside and numerous rim chips, as visible in the photo.
The manufacture of large scale ceramics is not without its difficulties, as evidenced by this large scale platter. While the clay was soft and malleable, but before it was glazed and fired, two cracks appeared in the back and corresponding areas of the fish. They were repaired and glazed and then the platter was fired.
This enormous platter was almost certainly made by Victor Barbizet (1805-1870). He is credited with founding the School of Paris, the group of Palissy makers that operated in Paris from roughly 1850-1900. Barbizet was known to make large platters, some measuring nearly 44". He rarely signed his work, as here.
For a similar platter attributed to Barbizet, see Marshall P. Katz and Robert Lehr, "Palissy Ware Nineteenth-Century Ceramists from Avisseau to Renoleau" (London and Atlantic Highlands, NJ: The Athlone Press, 1996) p. 124, plate 143.