Date : vers XVIIe
The decoration on this plate is consistent with the first phase of development of the lambrequin motif, which very likely originated from the Chinese decorations of the Wan Li period (1573-1620). Large, fairly wide triangular-shaped designs cover rims and inner edges, their compositions anticipating the complex, radiating decorations that would later feature the interplay of ornamental devices in part and counterpart Boulle marquetry. From inner edges to centres, the lambrequin would reappear in infinite repetitions, the centripetal compositions drawing the eye towards, and enhancing, a central motif such as a coat of arms, a rosace, a basket of flowers or a Chinese scene.
An alliance coat of arms surmounted by an earl’s coronet lies at the centre of the piece: the shield belonging to the family of Allain, Seigneur of Barbières, is gules (red) with three martlets in gold and a chief cousu* in blue with three spur stars also in gold, the other shield is blue with three gold stars.
An alliance coat of arms surmounted by an earl’s coronet lies at the centre of this piece: a shield belonging to the family of Allain, Seigneur of Barbières, shows three martlets in gold below a blue horizontal band with three spur stars, also in gold; the other shield is blue and has three gold stars. The coat of arms establishes the plate’s early date of completion; the painter has depicted the arms as they were, respecting the heraldic colours, with the exception of red, which he chose to symbolise with vertical lines according to the code of convention adopted by earthenware makers around 1700.
* A heraldic term, meaning, literally ‘sewn’ that provided a way to get round the rule of tincture in heraldic design. This rule dictated that colour should not be placed on colour, or metal on metal. Here, without using cousu, the rule would be broken by placing blue on red.