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wedgwood palissy ware 19thC platterPALISSY and PALISSY WARE are antiques terms that refer to Majolica Earthenware & Porcelain or Art Pottery that exhibit high relief decoration and in various forms. Some are functional & utilitarian and some are purely for display.

Specifically, a reference to PALISSY WARE describes items made by many Artisans & Pottery Studios inspired by the 16thC French ceramicist BERNARD PALISSY [b.1510 - d.1590], who pioneered lead-based & enameled pottery, now collectively referred to as MAJOLICA. Very few of his original pieces survive nowadays and those would be displayed in fine Museums.

PALISSY WARE is characterized by heavy Majolica (Tin) glazes in mostly deep greens, reds, yellows, and other strong colors, yet elegantly diffused throughout the piece. High-relief surface decoration is usually in the form of small animals, like snakes, lizards, etc, or fish, shellfish, and other sea creatures, fruit or vegetables & plants, and other pronounced details. Serious initial attempts at reviving this style of Art Pottery began in France ca 1840s by several potters and quickly spread to nearby countries such as Portugal, the UK, Italy & elsewhere.

Most desirable and collectible PALISSY WARE were made ca 1850s - 1920s, especially items from the Tours (France) and Calda da Raihna (Portugal) regions. Later items are primarily of decorative value, regardless of origin, and are usually sold as souvenirs or tourist ware of no significant value to most collectors.

A cautionary note: PALISSY WARE is NOT related to PALISSY POTTERY of Longton, Staffordshire (UK), who did not produce pottery in this style. However, GEORGE JONES (also from Staffordshire, UK), created magnificent pieces in this style around the late 19thC.

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