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“Bleu Deck” Lamps With Dragon Bas-Relief (Pair)

Faience attributed to Theodore Deck (1823-1891)
Mounts probably by Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892) c. 1865-1870

After obtaining a broken blue “Isnik” tile in 1859, the French ceramicist Theodore Deck began experimenting in the attempt to recreate its very dramatic color. He exhibited vases with this rich deep turquoise glaze at the London International Exposition in 1862, where they were highly acclaimed.
Having seen an exhibition of “Persian” ceramics at the Musée de Cluny in 1858, Deck was so struck by the luminosity of their colors that he decided to attempt to reproduce it. The following year he obtained a broken “Isnik” tile and – after much analysis and experimentation – produced several comparable glazes. Deck discovered that the brilliant hues of Islamic earthenware resulted from a base coating of white alkaline slip containing tin oxide. The decorations done in enamel were then covered with a clear glaze, producing vivid, translucent effects. One of the hues he achieved – a deep turquoise – was created using potash, carbonate of soda and chalk. This color was particularly admired and came to be known as “bleu Deck.” 1

1 Harlow, Frederica Todd, “Theodore Deck and the Islamic Style” published in Saudi Aramco World in July/August 1992, available online at