Earthenware in Bordeaux in the 19th century
The museum has the most important collection in public hands of the Bordeaux fine earthenware manufacturers Lahens & Rateau (1830-1832), David Johnston (1834-1845) and Jules Vieillard (1845-1895).
The collection consists of about 550 pieces, including about 100 drawings. The production of the Vieillard factory at the end of the 19th century bears witness to the taste for eclecticism and for non-Western styles. The factory's participation in the World Fairs is magnificently illustrated by a Persian-style wall fountain and a monumental basin, two major pieces presented at the Paris World Fair in 1878.
The collection has been built up since 1970 and has been constantly enriched by donations, bequests and purchases, thanks in particular to the Friends of the Museum association. The donation of the Marcel Doumézy collection in 1970 formed the basis of the collection, with a bust portrait of Jules Vieillard in biscuit (1857), a rare shell signed by the famous Amédée de Caranza and an octagonal dish from the astonishing "Red and Gold" service. While the majority of the designers of the Jules Vieillard factory remain unknown, the recent donation in 2017 of twelve drawings of the so-called "mouse service" has lifted the veil on the identity of its author, Eugène Millet.