The Musée Ariana’s collections show the key role played over time by Switzerland in general, and the Geneva region in particular, in the history of ceramics.
Some important milestones highlight its main strengths:
In the 17th century, Winterthur pottery attained a remarkable degree of perfection in both tableware and monumental tiled stoves. In the 18th century, the number of workshops increased, and though some of them had only a small output and were in production for a limited length of time, others flourished, such as the manufactories in Bern, Zurich and Fribourg.
During the 18th century, two companies courageously embarked on the perilous adventure of porcelain: the Zurich-Schooren and the Nyon manufactories. The former was influenced by northern Europe, and the latter by France. Despite the quality of the goods produced, questions of profitability, due to a restricted market on one hand and the lack of any state support on the other, forced Switzerland to direct its efforts towards more economically viable substitute products such as creamware.
The popular technique of slip cast terracotta, painted using a slip trailer, under a transparent glaze, thrived in the Bernese countryside from the 18th century onwards, and was characterized by a rustic style full of freshness and authenticity.
“The Slave’s Release”
Zurich manufactory, c.1770
Porcelain, polychrome enamels, gold, silver lustre
H. 16 cm
Photo : Nathalie Sabato