History of the Anduze
400 years of rich history
The stately Anduze vase has increased in nobility and popularity over the last four centuries. Whether rendered in traditional patinas or glazed with contemporary, vibrant colours, its attractiveness spans generations and remains relevant to every style trend.
Of legends and myth
The legend of the Anduze vase is true myth, nourished by wondrous stories that speak of the legendary rather than historical reality.
As one of the stories go, this horticultural vase was birthed during the reign of Henri IV (1610) and was invented by a potter of Anduze. After spotting the Italian Medici-style vases ornamented with fruits and garlands at the fair in Beaucaire, Florence, he was inspired to craft his very own version.
Another legend claims that the Anduze vase adorned the gardens of Versailles during the reign of the Sun King. While the King’s house records do not mention any orders of Anduze vases, the firsthand account of the Boisset potters as well as the sherds found in the area seem to indicate the presence of the vases in large Parisian gardens under the Empire. However, without source, description or reference, this is a weak argument for the presence of the Anduze vase in that era.
A Languedoc and Provençal origin
What we do know about the Anduze vase is that it was created during the late 17th century. Based on their inspiration and interpretations of existing pottery, the potters of Languedoc and Provence slowly crafted their own unique style of vase, which was co-opted by the Anduze potters later on. The first of these vases, originating from the Anduze region, date from 1728 - 1730 A.D. and belong to the Gautier workshop, a family of potters well established in the region since the 16th century.
In the last quarter of the 18th century, another family of potters emerged. Louis Etienne Boisset learned his craft at the wheel of his uncle Gautier of the famed Gautier workshop. Early in the 19th century, the Boisset dynasty increased their influence by taking over the old Gautier workshop.
Trending in the 19th Century
Throughout the 19th century, the workshops are flourishing and many Anduze potters are starting to produce garden vases, a specialty that distinguishes them from other Languedoc workshops. The reputation of these vases, beginning with Gautier and Boisset in the 18th century, becomes a household name by the 19th century. Named the “Anduze vase”, they will invade the parks and orange groves of the region but also be very successful in the other provinces.
However, this trend lost momentum in the early 20th century. Only the Boisset pottery near La Baou survived, despite a few years of interruption. The workshop successfully revived the trend in the late 20th century, and a slew of other workshops emerged as a response to the growing craze.
Today, the artisanal production of the Anduze vase is aligned with ancient traditional methods and craftsmanship.
The vases are renowned for its beauty and artistry, with 8 Anduze workshops crafting original vessels for clients worldwide.
Each workshop has their unique recipe of patinas and finishes, many of which have been crafted to appeal to a contemporary audience.
The rich history and cultural dimensions of the Anduze vase has attracted tourists to the Anduze region and is now proudly displayed in gardens all across the globe.