This oval-shaped ceramic vessel features a wide, steep rim surrounding a large well in the center. The scalloped edges of the rim are cut back into a deep semicircle on one side. The rim is painted in underglaze blue and yellow with plant and floral motifs that are arranged in a whimsical, asymmetrical fashion around the edge. The well is decorated with similar vegetal motifs and two vaguely stork-like birds with long legs that confront one another on a strip of turf.
The deep semicircle cut into one side of this barber's basin allowed it to be held close to a client's neck while being shaved by the barber. The style of informal decoration on this plate was developed around 1740 by Joseph Olérys, the owner of a faience factory in Moustiers near Marseilles in southern France.
This ovoid tureen stands on four curved, leaf-like feet that sprout upward and join together to form a pair of handles at either end of the vessel. The body of the tureen, composed of gentle undulating curves, is decorated with bright red and yellow flowers and leaves painted with overglaze enamel. A scallion, modeled in relief, rests bundled together with sprigs of parsley on top of the lid, introducing a playful trompe-l'oeil element. An onion forms the knob on the top of the lid.
The elegant design and delicately painted decoration of this tureen would have introduced a note of casual refinement to the table of its original owners, who were probably a well-to-do French family. The trompe-l'oeil scallion lain seemingly nonchalantly across the lid and the bulbous vegetal knob resembling an onion give the piece a playful charm.
Inscribed l.l.: Iohann Baptista Piazzetta Venetus delineavit; l.c.: Lorenz Haid sculpsit/Cum Gratia et Privilegio Sacrae Caesareae Majestatis; l.r.: Iohán Christian Leopold excudit. Augustae Vindelicorum./a 13