Faience in CERAMICA CH

Technically, faience (tin-glazed earthenware or delftware) is earthenware with a light-coloured, yellow, pink or reddish fabric. After the first firing, also known as biscuit firing, both the interior and exterior of the vessel were dipped in a lead-tin glaze, which was opaque thanks to the presence of the tin. So-called high-fire glazes could then be used to apply the decorations (in-glaze painting). A second firing (glost firing at 1000–1190 °C) resulted in the colours fusing with the glaze. The vessel could then be painted again, this time using overglaze colours, after which it was covered with an additional coat of transparent shiny lead glaze (“coperta”). The third firing was carried out in a muffle kiln at a temperature of 650–850 °C. The range of colours included cobalt blue, manganese violet, copper green, Naples or antimony yellow, iron brown and iron red.

Simple faience produced in large quantities and often hastily painted was considered “… luxury tableware for the middle classes, the better off tradesmen, farmers, merchants, officials and low-ranking clergy…” who usually possessed only a very small number of individual pieces of true porcelain.

Translation Sandy Haemmerle

Ger.: Fayence

Fr.: Faïence

Literature on faience production

Bartels 1999
Michiel Bartels, Steden in Scherven, Zwolle 1999, 201-236

Blondel 2001
Nicole Blondel, Céramique: vocabulaire technique, Paris 2001, 75-81.

Guyot 2018
Claude Guyot, Étude des terres de pipe, formes et décors entre faïence et porcelaine. Lunéville 2018.

Heege 2016
Andreas Heege, Die Ausgrabungen auf dem Kirchhügel von Bendern, Gemeinde Gamprin, Fürstentum Liechtenstein. Bd. 2: Geschirrkeramik 12. bis 20. Jahrhundert, Vaduz 2016, 271-288.

Maggetti 2007
Marino Maggetti, Technique de la faïence française (fin XVIIIe/debut XIXe siècle), in: Marino Maggetti (Hrsg.), La faïence de Fribourg: 1753-1844, Dijon 2007, 14-31.

Maggetti 2012
Marino Maggetti, Technology and Provenancing of French faience, in: José Miguel Herrero/Marius Vendrell, XXXII Reunión de la Sociedad Espanola de Mineralogía. International seminar on Archaeometry and Cultural Heritage: the contribution of Mineralogy, Bilbao, 27 de Junio 2012 (Seminarios de la Sociedad Espanola de Mineralogía 9), Mdrid 2012, 41-64.

Maggetti 2017
Marino Maggetti, Technologische Analyse eines frühen (1800-1806) Matzendorfer Steinguts, in: Keramik-Freunde der Schweiz, Mitteilungsblatt 131, 2017, 105-123.

Maggetti 2023
Faïence ou terre blanche? Le Bois d’Épense ou Saint-Clément? Keramikfreunde der Schweiz Bulletin 101, 25-31.

Matter 2012
Annamaria Matter, Die archäologische Untersuchung in der ehemaligen Porzellanmanufaktur Kilchberg-Schooren. Keramikproduktion am linken Zürichseeufer 1763-1906 (Monographien der Kantonsarchäologie Zürich 43), Zürich 2012.