Nov 11, 2013

~ aptware

I may be late showing up to this party, but better late than never…
Check out this dinnerware. Look familiar?

I've only shared this Caroylne Roehm table about ten times now. Remember the obsession? Allow me to remind you: I have the napkins, I have the glassware, and I have been on a madman search for this dinnerware...

And now I can tell you just about anything you ever wanted to know about Aptware, and more. It comes in blue...

Charlotte Moss had it in yellow, but she sold it in an auction. Of course that was before I had ever heard of Aptware...

I love that yellow!

And it comes in this gorgeous green...

The tureen is a favorite shape...

Aptware, named for the small town in France where it originated, was developed around mid-18th century. The beautifully colored marbleized faience pottery was naturally inspired by the colored soils in that region. Aptware is mainly from Apt, but also other areas of Provence like Le Castellet. If you are traveling in this part of the country, aptware can certainly be found in various shops...

While researching, I found very few images featuring the exquisite pottery. The green pieces I found are from Cote Jardin Antiques ~ a favorite shop with locations in West Palm Beach, Washington D.C. and West Hollywood, CA.
Surprise, Aptware is not cheap. 

Just look at that table!

I also found these exquisite antique pieces of Aptware in a wonderful shop in Houston, Texas, Meli-MeloI'm in love with this pair of urns.

Meli-Melo also features what looks like Terre Melee pieces. An amazing collection to be sure. 

Here are some other images I found during my search that I'm guessing are examples of antique Aptware...

All this research on Aptware eventually resulted in the discovery of Pichon pottery which originated in the town of Uzes in Provence, only about 100 miles from Apt. This marbleized clay, similar in appearance, is just as lovely, and just as difficult to find.

What is fascinating about both Aptware and Pichon, is that the marbling effect achieved with these ceramics is from mixed earth. In other words, the ceramic itself is made up of different types of earth. When you consider the fact that each of the earths has a unique firing temperature, and also the difficulty factor involved in successfully firing a whole piece, it is quite remarkable. This is all in contrast to a marbling effect created by applying colored glazes to an existing, already fired piece of pottery ~ more like "painting" a marbleized look ~ often equally beautiful, but totally different and worth noting. To figure out which technique was used to create a marbleized piece, look inside the piece. If it's the same as the outside, it's mixed earth. If it's different, it's been "decorated" on the exterior of the piece.. 

More Pichon pottery available on 1st Dibs...

Also? Allow me to introduce you to Agateware…

Agateware is another form of pottery, an 18th-century ware of varicolored clay, also with a marbleized effect. It was often referred to as solid agate to distinguish it from ware with surface marbling. A random mingling of colored clays created the veining appearance. Later, white clays were mixed and stained with metallic oxides enhancing the striated marbling effect.

When I searched 1st Dibs, which I often do to find examples of antiques I'm studying, I found these pieces of Agateware…

Um. These lamps are listed as Agateware?

TITLE:French Neoclassical Agate Ware Lamps
CONDITION:Excellent, some minor chips and hairline cracks.
LENGTH:11 in. (28 cm)
DEPTH:9 in. (23 cm)
HEIGHT:31 in. (79 cm)
REFERENCE NUMBER:U12111280301234

Dude. Check out that price! I just bought this piece last May in Louisville, KY for a fraction!

Take note of the stamp...

So I searched Meisselman Imports Italy, and these came up...

 PAIR FAUX AGATE ITALIAN CERAMIC URNS. Pair of Italian ceramic Neoclassical lidded urns on square plinth bases, yellow brown and white swirled faux agate surface int he manner of 18th C. Wedgwood agate ware, white floral swags, handles and top finial. Marked: Meiselman Imports Italy P 621. Size: 19 1/2''H, 9 1/2''W at handle top, 11''W widest part, 6 3/4''Square base. Condition: age appropriate wear, drilled for lamps, some firing flaws.

Faux Agate! Funny! 

Aptware… and Terre Melee, Pichon, and Agate… New things to search for when antiquing, shopping and traveling. 

I hope you've enjoyed this educational post. I adore Aptware and equally despise the fact that it's almost impossible to find. Also? I am not in love with the corresponding price tag, however I have purchased a couple things and will share when they arrive. 

I feel as though I've just completed a report for a middle school project. Exhausted, once again, I pass the baton.

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sega61 said...

Who knew? As a fellow "china addict" I had never heard of this. Thanks for the education!

La Petite Gallery said...

This is very impressive agate ware, I love it.
I an putting you on my side bar,
that should get the word around.. yvonne

Sparkling Like A Diamond said...

Great post! I love all these pieces and am happy you educated me on them.

Marsha Splenderosa said...

Oh, I love this post! I am a total collector of tableware, love everything about this. xx's

Kimberly Morris said...

Meli-Melo is an absolutely fabulous place. It' where I buy my Quimper and table linens. Looks like I'll need to go there soon and start another collection. You have me hooked!

therelishedroost said...

I love very piece!!! They mix with traditional and modern..just gorgeous!

marlene said...

I so enjoyed reading about this dinnerware. I love the blue especially and was very jealous when you had said in another blog: dinnerware...check! linens...check! The first photo looks amazing. I feel like I have had a lesson and thank you for all the time you put into this blog!!!

BRASWELL said...

each day I like to learn a new thing
you have made that possible + Love aptware + Pichon. thank you

Susan said...

You may be aware of a book, 'Entertaining in the French Style',(by Eileen W. Johnson, photos by Brie Williams, Gibbs Smith,2010) The first entry is of a B&B in Saignon, Chambre avec Vue, with table settings of aptware in all colors (it does mention Ateliers du Vieil Apt). The photos are lovely. (Sorry for no links)

Carolina Elizabeth said...

I Love your blog and and enjoy the inspiration it brings me. I hope you will visit my artist blog and see some of my romantic style art pieces.

Anonymous said...

Let's just imagine I could afford aptware, the blue kind. Where would I be able to find it?

You really did your homework. That is an impressive number of pictures. Ann


Thank you for this information. The first I knew of it was when the book "Pierre Deux's French Country: A Style and Source Book" appeared in 1989. An atelier was mentioned but I cannot find my book to check this against what you have. I have coveted this since that first peek. And you are correct, there is not much out there on this type of pottery. I have spotted only 2 pieces since -- and they were not to the standard of the pieces in your photographs; one in Seagrove, NC, (town of potters) and one in a shop window in Paris. It was not convenient to stop in either place. Now, hopefully, with your effort here, I will be able to track down one piece for my table.
All the very best, Rebecca R. Dyer

Apt Faïence Luberon Christine Jouval Marcel said...

Hello and congratulations for your wonderful blog that I follow over the years!
I worked at ATELIER DU VIEIL APT with Luc Jacquel who taught me everything about aptware, itself formed by "Jean Faucon" for 15 years.
I lost my job when the Atelier du Vieil Apt closed in January 2010 due to health problem Luc Jacquel.
IT supported me so to be able to continue Apware after his death.
My workshop is recently opened and is located in my home at 575 Avenue Victor Hugo, 84400 APT.
I am able to produce the entire collection and color with the same settings.
I thought it is important to state in your blog and for memory.
Christine Jouval
I also work on commission.

Best regards