Background of French Faience
Faience, or tin-glazed and enameled earthenware, first emerged in France during the sixteenth century, reaching widespread usage among elite patrons during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Faience is foremost distinguished by the opaque white color achieved by adding tin oxide to the glaze. French faience is typically divided into two types. Grand feu (high fire) describes pieces that have been decorated with glaze and metallic oxides before being fired a single time at a high temperature of around 1650°F (900°C). Petit feu (low-fire) faience refers to a process whereby the clay body is fired before being glazed and decorated with metallic oxides and then fired again at a lower temperature. The lower firing temperature of petit feu faience enabled both greater precision in painting techniques and greater variety in the range of colors.
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