Palissy, Bernard

Bernard Palissy was a protestant French writer and scientist, renowned for his ceramic and glass works. He was born in 1510 to a glass-painter who trained him in Saintes circa 1530. He focused on glazed ceramics. Circa 1539 he decided to try and emulate the white glazed dishes from Italy, and learned pottery near Chapelle-des-Pots.  His research cost him everything he owned including his furniture he burned to fuel his furnace. But he had to make a living to feed his many children and worked in the salt march, where he observed the fauna and flora which became a source of inspiration. From 1555 on, he composed his first “Rustic Basins” and decorated them with enameled relief animals and shells. He achieved a ceramic grotto at the Ecouen castle for Anne de Montmorency who introduced him to the queen Catherine de Medici in 1566. He participated in the decoration of the Tuileries and became a royal protégé. Following the Saint-Bartholomew’s Day massacre he fled to Sedan in 1572 and stopped producing, leaving his workshop to his sons. He died in prison in 1589 for his religious beliefs.