Vaucluse’s Pottery

The potters of Apt are inextricably linked to the land and its history. Local clay was used for pottery as early as Roman times. The 13th century was a particularly prolific period in the local crafts scene, with the Pont Julien workshops. In around 1720, when royal edicts demanded that all silverware be sacrificed for the war effort, Abbott Moulin founded a faience factory for his nephews, an enterprise that was encouraged by the Lord of Castellet, the Duke of Brancas. Original and refined thanks to its unique marbling technique, Apt faience has over the years produced a number of exceptional pieces inspired by goldsmiths. The 18th century was the golden age for Apt faience. In the early 19th century, thirteen factories and nearly two hundred craftsmen exported all over Europe. Tileries and terracotta workshops also flourished at this time, producing the famous tomette provençale (hexagonal floor-tiles). The faience tradition and know-how - handed down through the centuries - still thrives in Apt. The town boasts a number of talented faience, sandstone, ceramic, porcelain and enameled lava craftsmen and artists. Know-How. Glazed pottery colours range from golden yellow to chocolate brown. In the 19th century a number of fine polychrome pieces were made. However, Apt specializes in the “brocatelle” or marbled, mottled effect. In the 19th century Léon Sagy, followed by Joseph Bernard, invented the “flamed earth” style that was to win him first prize at the International Decorative Arts Exhibition in Paris. The techniques used by Apt faience craftsmen include using layer-upon-layer of ochre, or using clay on a wheel and colouring it with metallic oxides.

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