Museum of Ceramics - RouenMuseum of Ceramics - Rouen
©Museum of Ceramics - Rouen|Alan Aubry

The earthenware of Rouen

Rouen earthenware has played an important role in the history of French earthenware. Through figures such as Masséot Abaquesne or through its current artisanal stores, Rouen’s earthenware is one of the major know-how of the capital of Normandy.

Masséot Abaquesne

Rouen earthenware

It is impossible to talk about Rouen earthenware without mentioning Masséot Abaquesne. This Norman, born in Cherbourg around 1500, was a ceramist who revolutionized his art. He was the first grand master potter. His passage from 1524 to 1557 in Sotteville-lès-Rouen allows the development of the manufacture of earthenware in Rouen.

Several of his achievements are still exhibited today in France. Pharmacy jars, panels and pavement tiles make up his faience production. Those made for the castle of Écouen in the Val-d’Oise are the most famous. It is anicon of ceramics dating from the Renaissance.

The blue mantling pattern

A radiant decor

When Masséot Abaquesne died, his son Laurent continued his work for a few years. Rouen earthenware did not reappear until 1644, in the Saint-Sever district, when the regent Anne of Austria granted one of her bailiffs a monopoly to produce earthenware in Rouen.

It was at this time that the famous blue mantling decoration appeared and marked the Rouen style for a long time. This motif is notably used soberly on the periphery of objects such as plates and dishes. The factory led by Edmond Poterat developed rapidly. The monopoly reserved for the factory ends in 1720, it develops competition and the factory closes its doors in 1795.

The Museum of Ceramics

An intimate and privileged setting in Rouen

In addition to specialized stores, discover the history of Rouen earthenware at the Musée de la Céramique de Rouen. Located in the Hôtel d’Hocqueville near the Musée des Beaux-Arts, it has a rich collection of more than five thousand works.

You’ll discover a complete panorama of the history of Rouen faience, from the 16th century to the end of the 18th century. The museum has the jewels of ceramics such as pavements by Masséot Abaquesne.

For visitors, the tour offers atmosphere reconstructions such as a table set up for dessert service or a toilet cabinet for example. The museum’s permanent collections are open to visitors free of charge throughout the year.