The new presentation is flanked by a book published by the Christoph Merian Verlag, which with its focus on the highlights of the collection and the most important new acquisitions of the past three decades visibly underscores the importance of Basel’s collection of Strasbourg faience.
Strasbourg wares certainly occupy a special place in the Historisches Museum Basel’s impressive collection of pottery and porcelain. Flourishing trade had made Basel very wealthy and prosperous by the 18th century and new houses were shooting up all over town; yet the city had no porcelain production of its own, meaning that all fine tableware had to be imported.
The wares supplied by the Strasbourg manufactory met the high standards of Basel's upper classes in respect of both the fineness of the porcelain and the quality of the painting. For over half a century, from the manufactory’s founding in 1721 to its bankruptcy in 1781, Strasbourg faience was the tableware of choice for Basel’s genteel households. The family coats of arms on many plates and salvers attest to this, as does the provenance of numerous objects from old Basel families. Several magnificent tile stoves, moreover, tell us that Strasbourg was as much the go-to address for Basel households wishing to install an exceptionally fine stove as it was for those seeking fine tableware.