The Gardiner Museum is open seven days a week! Explore our permanent collection, discover special exhibitions, and get hands-on with clay in our studios. We look forward to welcoming you.
Discover an exhibition of new work in our lobby by members of Inspirations Studio, a unique low-barrier ceramics program in Toronto for women and gender diverse people who have experienced marginalization.
Our Joy of Ceramics fundraiser returns on October 27, featuring a presentation by Sarah Milroy, Chief Curator at the McMichael Gallery, who will talk about a work by Shary Boyle, including its many meanings and her decision to donate it. This event sells out every year!
Every object in our permanent collection can be accessed through our eMuseum portal. Learn about individual collecting areas, like Italian Maiolica or Modern and Contemporary Ceramics, or search the full collection by keyword. You'll be amazed by what you discover!
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This collection surveys the production of some of the most important centres of production of tin-glazed earthenware in France, where the wares were known as faïence. Knowledge of tin-glazing reached France in the second half of the sixteenth century when Italian artisans settled in the cities of Rouen, Lyon, and Nevers. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, production spread to other centres such as Marseilles, Moustier, and Sceaux.
Tin-glazed earthenware was used in the making of both functional and ornamental objects. Pieces in the Gardiner Museum’s collection also show how faïence makers first worked under the influence of Italian maiolica before turning to Chinese porcelain as their main source of inspiration.
Faïence provided a less expensive alternative to Chinese porcelain and to the European hard-paste and soft-paste porcelain produced in the eighteenth century. The discovery of kaolin sources in France, which enabled the production of more durable hard-paste porcelain, as well as the spread of less expensive creamware, caused the decline of the faïence industry in the late eighteenth century.
The Gardiner’s collection of French faïence was donated by Pierre Karch and Mariel O’Neill-Karch.
1. Charger (detail), France, Rouen, attributed to the Poterat manufactory, late 17th century, The Pierre Karch and Mariel O'Neill-Karch Collection, G15.8.1
2. Charger (detail), France, Rouen, attributed to the Poterat manufactory, late 17th century, The Pierre Karch and Mariel O'Neill-Karch Collection, G15.8.1
3. Hound’s Head Stirrup Cup (detail), England, c. 1770s. Gift of Jean and Kenneth Laundy, G08.2.45
4. Pair of Shoes (detail), England, possibly London, 1705-1715, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.549.1-2. Photographer: Toni Hafkenscheid
5. Dish with Scenes of the Abduction of Europa (detail), Italy, Faenza, Attributed to the Master of the Bergantini Bowl, c.1537, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G83.1.351
6. Bird Dish (detail), England, possibly Staffordshire, possibly by Thomas Toft (d.1689), c.1690-1710, Gift of George and Helen Gardiner, G87.1.3
7. Sculpture of a Stove (detail), Switzerland, Winterthur, c.1650, The Hans Syz Collection, G96.5.418
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