Turkish Delight: Iznik Pottery


An Iznik Dish Depicting Two Birds among Flowering Plants 
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Turkish design has been a source of inspiration in Western Europe for centuries–everything from furniture, textiles, and ceramics have been highly valued for its fine quality and intricate decoration.


An Iznik Tile with a ‘Saz’ Leaf Design 
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Today we are taking a closer look at a type of ceramics known as Iznik ware.  Iznik pottery takes its name from a town in Anatolia, part of modern day Turkey, which served as a centre of ceramic production during the Ottoman Empire from the mid 14th century until the end of the 17th century.   Iznik wares originally featured decoration of one colour: cobalt blue.  The colour could be used in a dark and opaque form or thinned to produce a translucent light blue.  Gradually the range of colours increased to include turquoise, pale blue, pink, and green.


An Iznik Blue-Ground Ewer 
Metropolitan Museum of Art

The 16th century represented the golden age in Iznik production, and by the 17th century the popularity of Iznik wares in Europe led to various attempts at imitation.

In 19th century France, the potter Joseph-Theodire Deck set up an independent atelier in Paris where he reproduced pottery in the Iznik tradition.  Along with his pupil Edmond Lachenal, the two  produced a number of magnificent pieces, among which is a very fine example at the V&A.

A Pair of French Cloisonne Vases in the Iznik Style Now Mounted as Lamps
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

We are delighted to have a pair of 19th century French cloisonné vases decorated in the Iznik tradition.  The baluster form vases are decorated throughout in various tones of blue with black highlights on a white background.  The combination of the cloisonné surface with the Iznik decorative scheme creates a wonderful effect.


One thought on “Turkish Delight: Iznik Pottery

  1. Pingback: Theodore Deck & His Turquoise Treasures | The Source

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