Ernest Chaplet


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(b Sèvres, Hauts-de-Seine, 1835; d Choisy-le-Roi, Val-de-Marne, 1909). French potter. He was apprenticed at the Sèvres porcelain factory, studying historic styles and techniques. From 1857 to 1874 he produced painted earthenware at the Laurin factory in Bourg-la-Reine, Hauts-de-Seine. In 1875 he joined an experimental workshop in Auteuil, Paris, where he worked with Félix Bracquemond. The studio was owned by Charles Haviland (1839-1921) and provided moulds and underglaze decoration for the Haviland factory at Limoges. In the early 1870s Chaplet pioneered Barbotine, a method of underglaze painting in coloured slips. With the help of in-house and freelance artists, skilled copies were made of works by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806), Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) and the Italian masters, or landscapes and still-lifes of fruit and flowers. Barbotine vases, jugs and bottles quickly became fashionable, but the pieces were difficult to fire and after a few years the factory abandoned the technique. The Haviland company made a second studio available to Chaplet in Vaugirard, Paris, where he made painted, unglazed stoneware after the peasant pottery of Normandy. Chaplet took over the studio in 1885 and was succeeded in 1887 by Auguste Delaherche. In 1886 Bracquemond introduced Chaplet to Paul Gauguin who, stimulated by the new French art pottery, was experimenting with ceramics. During that winter (1886-7) Gauguin attended the Vaugirard studio and with Chaplet created some 55 stoneware pots with applied figures or ornamental fragments, multiple handles, painted and partially glazed. In 1887 Chaplet settled in Choisy-le-Roi where he perfected coloured glazes, especially a flambé glaze derived from the early Chinese sang de boeuf (e.g. vase, 1896; London, V&A). In 1904 he lost his sight and gave up the workshop to his son-in-law, Emile Lenoble (1876-1939).

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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