Faïencerie Nouvelle, Givors, France
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Eleven plates -- including three extras -- illustrating fables of La Fontaine. 7½" white plate bordered in a green floral pattern with a central design in two or three of four colors: green, blue, brown, and tan. The back gives the fable title in block letters along with an FNG symbol surrounded by "Faïencerie Nouvelle, Givors, France." $10 to $15 each from a variety of sellers including Mary Ellen Kennedy, Larchmont, NY through Ebay, Nov.,' 99 and April, '00.
1. The Fox and the Grapes shows a very pretty design in blue, green, and brown. The blue grapes are nicely distinct from the green leaves around them. A trellis to the right suggests that some things or persons can get up to the grapes, even if this fox cannot. The coloring of this and other plates seems to suggest a stenciling process. One extra copy. Both copies have a "D" on the back. 2. The Grasshopper and the Ant has a busy design strong on the browns of the grasshopper's guitar and the ant's house, as well as the greens of the grasshopper and the stairs to the ant's house. The blue ant almost gets lost in the design. One extra copy. 3. "L'Huitre et les Plaideurs" has a dramatic design with the strong blues of the judge's robe at the center and an empty blue shell in either hand. Tans and browns fill out the design nicely. 4. The second copy shows what happens to a design when one color set misses the others: all three tan faces and the judge's hands are displaced here to the left. 5. The Miller, His Son, and Their Ass is one of the more complex designs. It shows the miller seated on the ass, with his son seated behind him and holding on to his waist. Cobblestones and hooves are nicely depicted. 6. The Ox and the Frog uses brown and blue-green to create this dish's strong contrast. This plate does not involve the tan coloring found on some other plates in the series. 7. The Tortoise and the Hare uses green to frame the scene and set the path along which the tortoise trudges. The tortoise's brown back contrasts nicely with the hare's tan body. The hare's direction shows how uninterested he is in the race. 8. The Fox and the Stork has a strong dramatic vertical line at its center emphasizing the stork's tall vase. Does clever positioning of the fox's eye suggest an attitude of dismay? This plate distinguishes between blue (for the stork's body) and green (for the vase). 9. The Fox and the Crow is perhaps the most animated of these plates. The fox has his arms spread, perhaps in admiration of the crow's beauty. Two semicircles of brown delineate the round cheese in the crow's beak.