Where were they made?

The development of Anduze pottery began in the early 1600’s in a town in the south of France region of Cevennes called Anduze. The picturesque town is built on the side of the two majestic rocks of St-Julien and Peyremale that frame the Gardon river. Anduze boasts narrow streets lined with medieval houses and square spaces to enjoy. Today, beautiful artisanal urns can be seen at the entrances of parks, manor houses and many historical sites.

When Did It Start?

The tradition of handmade Anduze pottery is centuries old. The intriguing story is said to have began in 1610 at the fair of Beaucaire cévenol in Florence, Italy. A potter is thought to have been inspired by a selection of pottery on offer using the Medici style. On his return home from his trip he found himself mesmerized by the elegant style and began to create his own pieces. The result turned out to be a pleasant combination of the design that had inspired him but with a new twist including stamped clay badges showing the potters name. Since then the Anduze planter has attained its worldwide garden ornament reputation.

The Evolution of The Anduze Planter

The Anduze planter has undergone a series of developments throughout its 100’s of years of history. The planters were originally filled with lemons and orange trees and were displayed in prestigious gardens and aristocratic properties. They were also made in a flamed colour with the traditional glaze being green, brown and yellow streaks. The spherical and upwardly open form was iconic along with the heraldic shields and garlands of flowers.

The incredible artistry of the Anduzes garden plants rapidly spread throughout the local region and then throughout the whole of France. Anduze pottery was beautifully made in the region for a long time, however the 20th century was the turning point for the prestigious pottery. 20th century clay became more and more scarce and ceramics become ever popular due to the industrialized manufacturing process now available. Many artisans were forced to close up shop and move on, however the Vase d’Anduze survived and is still today made my hand using the same process as their ancestors.

Throughout the 20th century the Anduze planter entered into a less traditional form including extravagantly painted and burned designs from a high gloss finish to an antiqued finish with sizes varying from 12 inches to 41 inches in height.

It is thought that the Orangeries of Versailles once boasted the most stunning collection of larger Anduze planters. To stock the Orangery, Louis XIV gathered all the orange trees from the local royal houses and acquired a fantastic selection of new trees from the likes of Portugal, Spain and Italy.

What are the main characteristics of the Anduze Planter?

The Anduze Planter has an elegant yet simple look and is traditionally decorated with garlands, macaroons and classical figures along with a clay badge which identifies the artisan’s name. Historically the planters were used to decorate large estates in southern France, but today they are sought after around the world. The Anduze planter can weigh up to a staggering 240 lbs and reach heights of up to 41 inches. Traditionally the planters contain orange, lemon or olive trees, alternatively they can embellish the garden with Mediterranean herbs including thyme and lavender. Still today in the modern world, many parks and gardens can be seen to be decorated with these masterpieces, giving them grand and royal ambiance. One thing to notes about the Anduze planters is the need to protect or cover the piece during a frosty period as this may damage them.

Who Were the Potters?

The Anduze planter is thought to have been interpreted in a unique style by the potters Languedoc and Provence with was appointed to Anduze potters later on.  The first of these vases dates back to 1728-1739 A.D. and belongs to the Gautier workshop, a family of potters who were very well established in the their region from the 16th century onwards. Another family of potters emerged towards the end of the 18th century. The Boisset family have been producing terracotta pots in the Anduze region using traditional methods and the earth from the surrounding area. Louis Etienne Boisset learned a lot about the craft from his uncle Gautier of the renowned Gautier workshop. The Boisset family soon flourished and increased their influence by taking over the iconic Gautier workshop. The reputation of the planters began with Gautier and Boisset in the 18th century and became a household name by the 19th century.