ORNAMENTI garden heritage - Anduze Vases

Anduze is a charming small town on the banks of the Gardon river in the historic Languedoc region of France. Located between Provence and the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the mountains of the Cévennes to the north, the town is often called the Gateway to the Cévennes.

In the Middle Ages, the picturesque town’s narrow streets lined with mediaeval houses were renowned as an important silk-trading centre. Today, the town and its environs are most famous for pottery and, in particular, the iconic Anduze Vase design that dates back to at least the 17th century.

According to local legend, the heritage of the Anduze Vase began around 1610 when an Anduze potter saw a beautifully decorated vase on a pottery market in Beaucaire and he decided to create his own version when he returned to his home town. The designs seen in Beaucaire were Italian Medici-type vases ornamented with swags and garlands. Today, the classic Anduze Vase is also adorned with garlands of fruit and flowers, crafted in a small geographical area principally comprising the communes of Anduze, St Jean du Gard and Tornac.

Typically, the Anduze Vase resembles an upturned bell in shape with three heraldic shields, between three swagged flower garlands, whilst horizontal stripes give the vase additional relief. Some vases featured a flamed colour, achieved by fired glaze of green, brown or yellow – although white, ivory and patina finishes are the most popular today.

It is said that the Orangery at Versailles once possessed the most beautiful collection of large Anduze vases. Presumably, these were later replaced by the equally famous Versailles Planters whose heritage is highlighted in another ORNAMENTI journal post. Although there is no archival evidence of the Versailles connection, shards of Anduze pottery have been uncovered in a number of grand Parisian gardens. And some Anduze Vases dating back to the seventeenth century can still be seen today enhancing French château and gardens.

Sadly, many of the most famous Anduze pottery dynasties struggled and closed their doors during the twentieth century, largely as they were unable to compete with mass-produced rivals. Somehow, against the odds, the traditional pottery skills did still survive in Anduze. Today, the artisans around Anduze from – where we source our Anduze Vases, Biot Jars and Bugadier Pots – have revived the past whilst remaining faithful to the artisanal pottery traditions of Anduze. These artisans are custodians of centuries-old craft, passionate about quality and tradition.

Read our Pottery Product Guide

Learn more about the history of the Anduze Vase

See the ORNAMENTI collection of Anduze Vases, Biot Jars and Bugadier Pots