Faience wall-mounted washbasin
Artist/Maker: Joseph Gaspard Robert
Artist/Maker Dates: 1722 - 1799
Place of Production: France, Marseille
Date of Production: 1777
Materials: faience, gilding, metal, underglaze hand painting, wood
Height: 87.0 cm.
Condition notes: Chips, wear consistent with age and use
Joseph Gaspard Robert was a prominent figure in the porcelain industry in Marseille during the 18th century. After initially working in a porcelain factory, he returned to Marseille in 1750 and eventually operated his own factory from around 1750 to 1793.
During his tenure, Robert collaborated with André Estieu, who had married his mother after his father's death. In 1761, Robert took over the factory and oversaw its remarkable expansion. He married Marguerite Defléchis but did not have any children, dedicating himself entirely to his profession. As his reputation grew, Robert attracted numerous disciples and constantly expanded his operations.
In 1773, he formed a partnership with John Jacob Dortu from Berlin to produce porcelain. The focus of this production was primarily on small objects used for snacks between meals or as parts of a larger set of tableware.
In 1777, Joseph Gaspard Robert received a visit from the Count of Provence, who would later become Louis XVIII of France. The Count was impressed by Robert's busy manufacturing activities, which included the creation of large vases adorned with relief work and flower bouquets. Robert's factory received orders for entire sets of tableware to be shipped abroad, particularly to Northern Europe and England. His connections with Freemasonry also provided him with opportunities in England.
In 1789, Robert was elected as a deputy to represent the potters. However, the economic crisis of the time eventually forced him to cease operations in 1794, marking the end of his influential career in the porcelain industry.
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