Winterthur, Abraham Pfau Faience with painting in 'high temperature' pigments, height 285 cm
The majority of the large faience tower stoves made in Switzerland for upper-middle class homes and guild and council chambers in the C16 to C18 were produced in Winterthur, mostly at the Pfau and Graf factories. The wide ranging subject matter painted on the stoves included allegories, historical scenes and spectacular scenes from the Old and New Testaments. In this case the stove is decorated with scenes from Greek mythology combined with representations of the Seven Wonders of the World. Such stoves, with a thematic programme accompanied by explanatory inscriptions, were conversation pieces that illustrated the culture as well as the wealth of their owners. Five splendid examples from various periods are on permanent display in the Museum, although none of them came from Basle houses. Stoves produced in Winterthur were shipped to eastern Switzerland, the Lake Constance area, and the region round Zurich as far as Brugg. In the 1880s and 1890s the opportunity arose to acquire stoves of this kind for the Gewerbemuseum and Historisches Museum; with a view to the Museum soon to be founded, they were purchased with the help of Federal funds.