Joseph–Théodore Deck (French, 18231891)
Earthenware with underglaze and enamel polychrome decoration ("Persian" faience); Diam. 16 1/8 in. (41.3 cm)
Purchase, Anonymous Gift and funds from various donors, 1985 (1985.225)
The center of this dish, decorated with Near Easterninspired flowers in red, turquoise, and white on a deep blue ground, is encircled by a border of intertwined flowerheads and buds on a turquoise ground. Derived from Turkish ceramics, the color palette more closely imitates Turkish prototypes while the rendering of the floral pattern is more freely interpreted. Inspired by the ceramics of Turkey, Persia, and Egypt, as well as those of Japan, Théodore Deck (18231891) opened a workshop devoted to the production of artistic pottery in 1856. Considered the founder of the artist-potter tradition that became prominent in the last quarter of the nineteenth century in France, Deck also looked to the ceramics of the Renaissance in Italy and France. An innovator in ceramics technology, he developed a deep turquoise blue in 1861 that was named for him, "bleu de Deck." During the 1870s, he experimented with copper oxide glazes, developing flambé glaze in imitation of eighteenth-century Chinese porcelain. From 1887 until his death in 1891, Deck was the administrator of the Sèvres porcelain factory, where he developed a modern soft-paste porcelain formula that enabled the factory to make reproductions of their revered works from the eighteenth century.