This plate is made of Rouen ware, a distinctive type of faience, or tin-enameled earthenware, produced in the Norman city of Rouen from the fifteenth century through the eighteenth. The elaborate border of floral scrolls on this example surrounds four staves of music simply titled "Aria." Although the opera for which the piece was composed has not been identified, its lyric is suited to the pastoral comic genre that was popular in France in the early eighteenth century. It translates as follows: "Though the world be at war, my soul is still at peace, and in my cave I defy fortune and all her traits."
Inscription: On face of plate: que la terre soit en guerre mon âme est toujours en paix et je brave dans mon cave la fortune et tous ces traita. [trans.: Though the world be at war, my soul is still at peace, and in my cave I defy fortune and all her traits.]
Gaston Le Breton (before 1910) ; J. Pierpont Morgan (until 1917; to MMA)