Cabinets of Curiosity 4: pottery
This is a rare Tudor dish, made by the French potter Bernard Palissy (c1510-c1589) or one of his followers.
Palissy was famous for having spent 16 years, without success, trying to replicate the secret recipe of Chinese porcelain.
At times he and his family were reduced to poverty; he even burned his furniture and the floor boards of his house to feed the fires of his furnaces.
He is best known for his rustic wares - highly decorative platters featuring small raised animals among vegetation, which were sometimes moulded from the casts of dead specimens.
The animals, including fish, crabs, reptiles, ferns and flowers, were inspired by those Palissy found in the Saintonge marshes.
Look closely at this dish to spot a lizard, a snake, a frog, a crab, butterflies, seashells and several small beetles, inside a grape vine border.
We can see from the bottom of this dish, that it was bought by William Jabez Muckley (1829-1905) in about 1850. Muckley was a noted Victorian artist, best known for his paintings of fruit and flowers and the dish was a much-prized piece in his personal collection.
It came into the Folkestone Museum collection through his son Angelo Fairfax Muckley (1859-1920) who was also an artist, and who served in the First World War as a Captain in the East Kent Regiment (The Buffs).
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