This framed Sèvres plaque is one of the most ambitious and original works of art produced in the Renaissance Revival style of mid-nineteenth-century France. Both the plaque and the elaborate frame pay homage to the flourishing of the decorative arts that took place during the French Renaissance. The scene on the plaque, by Nicolas-Marie Moriot after a painting by Charles Alexandre Debacq (1804–1853), portrays Bernard Palissy, the only Renaissance potter whose name was known in the nineteenth century, burning the furniture in his house to fire his kiln. The oval enamel-on-copper plaques that decorate the frame depict events from Palissy's life, and their grisaille decoration evokes Limoges enamels of the sixteenth century. The plaques were painted by Jacob Meyer-Heine, who was name head of the recently established enamel workshop at Sèvres in 1840. The dragons entwined with strapwork on the gilt-bronze frame by Armande Feuchère are drawn from the architectural vocabulary of the French Renaissance, and the biscuit porcelain figures modeled by Jean-Baptiste-Jules Klagman (1810–1867) recall the stucco decoration of the Galerie François I at Fontainebleau, the supreme example of Renaissance art in France. The designs and molds for this plaque are preserved at the Sèvres manufactory.
Signature: Plaque signed at lower left: Moriot 1846 d'après Debacq.
Frame lower right scroll signed: Mre Rle de Sèvres; the lower left scroll signed: Meyer-Heine.
Inscription: Around medallion: ESPRITZ DE PARVENIR. POVRETE EMPECHE LES BONS
Identifying inscriptions on oval enamel plaques on sides of frame: (on right): CONSEILS SVR L'AGRICVLTVRE; (on left): BREVET RECV DV Cble DE MONTMORENCY.
Inscribed on the socle supporting the bust of Palissy: B. de Palissy
Private Collection, England (consigned to Sotheby's London) ; [ Sotheby's, London , sold to MMA ]