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Large Alcora dish

Gran fuente de Alcora

Nº inv.: CE1/01283

This large, round, ceramic dish with an opaque white tin glaze is decorated in blue chiaroscuro with motifs from the Bérain series: lace edging on the brim, and grotesques and characters in the centre.

The Bérain series is named after the creator of this style of decoration, Jean Baptiste Bérain (1640-1711). Designer to the French King Louis XIV, he defined the tastes of French society in the late 17th century, his influence extending to the rest of Europe from 1710 with the publication of his work. This style was cultivated by the French centre of ceramic production in Moustiers around 1700, and arrived in Alcora thanks to the hiring of French workers, who the Count of Aranda brought in at the beginning of manufacturing. The majority of these maestros had trained at the Clerissy factory in Moustiers.

The shape of this piece is an adaptation of 17th-century goldsmith designs, created as a result of religious campaigns against luxury which prohibited the use of precious metals in the manufacture of tableware.

Manufacturing in Alcora began by order of the Count of Aranda, an enlightened noble who founded the factory in imitation of other nobles, such as Louis XIV of France, Augustus of Saxony and Charles III of Spain, all of whom were influenced by the ideas becoming popular in Europe at the time (Colbertism and the Enlightenment). He and many others tried to earn a reputation for quality output and aristocratic patrons. Ceramics made by the Count’s factory were of a high quality and very carefully decorated. Moreover, Alcora was the first place in Spain to introduce moulds to help with standardising sizes and shapes.

This piece is from the factory’s first manufacturing period, which was from 1727 to 1750.

On display in the Sala de Alcora (Alcora Room), second floor.