Anduze in the South of France is very well known for its large glazed garden planters and the technique of the handmade pottery that began in the 16th Century. Urns are the larger planters that are often characterised by both their dramatic convex shape and a fantastic painted patina. Suitable for classic and formal gardens alike, urns are best suited for larger plants or small trees. Many of the Manor houses, large parks, and historical sites throughout France are decorated with these beautiful artisanal urns which was used to plant small orange, lemon or olive trees originally.
Understanding the provenance of antique styles is part of the attraction to antiques and for urns, the village of Anduze, in the South of France, is particularly renown known for its pottery. The colourful French “Vase d’Anduze” originated in Provence and first appeared in the 16th Century. The craftsmanship of these French garden planters spread quickly throughout the region of Provence.
The technique of the handmade pottery in Anduze is centuries old. The story of the Vase d’Anduze began in the 16th century under the reign of Henry IV. It is thought that it was a potter created the Vase d’Anduze when he was inspired by a vase he had seen in Florence. The Italian Medici vase is what inspired the shape but what characterises an Anduze urn is the size and the decorative shields, garlands of flowers and horizontal stripes.
The first of these vases, originating from the Anduze region, date from 1728 – 1730 A.D. and belong to the Gautier workshop, a family of potters well established in the region since the 16th century. In the last quarter of the 18th century, another family of potters emerged. Louis Etienne Boisset learned his craft from his Uncle Gautier, of the famed Gautier workshop. Early in the 19th century, the Boisset dynasty increased their influence by taking over the old Gautier workshop.
The artisans were very successful in producing the pottery of Anduze with the craftsmanship of these French garden planters quickly spreading throughout the region of Provence and all of France. It was said that the Orangerie of Versailles had possession of the most beautiful collection of large vases of Anduze. Still today, many gardens and parks are decorated with these masterpieces. Giving them a royal, and grand ambiance. Originally the glaze would have been applied in green, brown and yellow streaks and this means that the antiques Anduze urns we see today each have a very unique patina which a mix of colours.
Despite their popularity, clay became scarce in the 20th Century and ceramics were industrially manufactured. Many artisans had to give up their shops and ateliers but the Vase d’Anduze survived. The design of this glazed pottery has endured through contemporary artisans, who still make these vessels by hand the same way their ancestors did.