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 Small Rouen platter from the William Groves collection. Dug in New Orleans.
Of note is the characteristic border and décor Rouen à la corbeille or central basket of flowers. FPF 1
In the late 1960s and early 70s Leonard Charrier, a guard at Angola Prison, discovered a mid 18th century burial site of the Tunica Indians near the prison. The graves dated from the mid 18th century and contained early French pottery. The discovery was filled with intrigue and drama and involved the Tunica peoples, the Peabody Museum, the LSM, lawsuits and finally the return of the material to the Tunica. Good has come from this unfortunate set of events starting with the publication of The Tunica Treasure by Jeffrey Brain and culminating in therecognitionoftheTunicapeoplesasalegitimate tribe. For those of us interested in French pottery it is indeed a treasure. Early French utilitarian wares as used in Louisiana were no longer a mystery and Tunica Treasure shards served as guides to begin a collection of parallel antiques. We now had the knowledge to begin our collection of the earliest faïence and other wares used in Louisiana and call this the Tunica part of our collection.
As seen in Tunical Treasure crude green glazed pottery from Saintonge is among the earliest pottery found in Louisiana. Besides the blue of Rouen ware, polychrome ware from earlier kilns are also found. A type of French stoneware called gres as well as some English and German stoneware is found amongst the faïence. The pottery collection ends with these earliest wares as does our inventory.
Collecting Pottery, used in Louisiana, guided by found shards, has been a fascinating trip thru the Louisiana Story. The earliest ceramics found in Louisiana are French. By mid 18th century, the French had lost the French and Indian Wars and
English wares began to dominate even in French Louisiana. In a slight of hand by the French, the Spanish gained administrative control of what remained of Louisiana. The Spanish were mainly administrators of the southern portion of the “old” New France and Spanish ceramics, in our experience, have not been identified in Louisiana. By the end of the 18th century English pearlware is the dominant found shard. France made a feeble attempt at the end of the 18th century to compete with the English with Rouen ware. The attempt failed as witnessed by the numerous shards of English “china” found in Louisiana and only rare fragments of Rouen ware. England controlled the Industrial revolution with its cheap wares. A single faïence plate révolutionaire dug in Louisiana documents the troubled revolutionary times at the end of the 18th century in Louisiana.
Brain, Jeffrey P., Tunica Treasure, 1979, Peabody Museum.
Brain, Jeffrey P., Tunica Archeology, 1988, Peabody Museum.
Avery, George, French Colonial Pottery An International Conference, 2002, Northwestern State University Press,

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