St Jean de Fos, a small village where the river Herault emerges from its gorge, boasted over 70 artisan potters in its heyday during the 18th century, with nearly every family in the village active in some way in making terracotta pottery. From the 1500's until the 19th Century, throughout the entire Herault valley from Pezenas up to St Guilhem le Desert you would find potteries producing everything from clay bricks and building materials to tableware and olive jars. St Jean de Fos is the only community of potters that has survived as a source of the most beautiful traditional vases and tableware. And more, the master potter, Claude Destand continues to make the green glazed gutters & drainpipes, roof tiles & decorations that ornament buildings throughout the area.
The terracotta clay in the area that had served the potteries in the past centuries has belong been exhausted, but there is still an active community of artisan potters in this small town in the Herault. Catriona McLean has selected only the best pottery that we feel represent the ethos of the St Jean de Fos design heritage, and is of outstanding quality. Everything is individually made by hand and using traditional methods of glazing and firing (albeit in modern ovens). The forms and designs on the garden pottery are authentically taken from archive material and original fragile vases now housed in the local museum. There are many who try and copy and manufacture these designs outside of France, but we have never found a range that in any way captures the beauty and quality of the pottery produced in St Jean de Fos. Claude Destand a descendant from one of the original pottery families Destan, creates and produces in his atelier a small but perfectly formed collection of small exterior pots and vases based on original designs of olive jars and water carrying vessels. His table ware range you will find in the Midi lifestyle section, but here you will see very simple but useful sizes in the classic 3 colours - green, and honey yellow and straw and sometimes a blue. Claude still also produces the original terracotta roof guttering and down-piping that are used in house renovations in the area. His production output is not high as either himself or his assistant makes everything, just as it was done many centuries ago. His pottery will surely be treasured for years to come.
We have also sourced from St Jean de Fos a range of larger urns and vases which are similar to the Anduze ranges in size and form, but with certain design differences. Originally each region had their own distinct design heritage, which has over time almost merged from one region to the other. We have simply selected the best vase shapes and designs from each region, and from the best pottery for their quality of production and sensibility to colour and style.