Musée National Eugène Delacroix

Gurglets

© RMN / G. Blot

MD 2002-187
XVIIIe siècle
Earthenware
Morocco
Gift of the Société des Amis du Musée Delacroix, 2002
H. 0,409 m

A gurglet is a recipient used to keep water cool. Its name comes from the translation of the Arabic term ‘berrada,’ whose root means ‘cold.’ This everyday object, still used today, has remained virtually unchanged since Delacroix’s time.

This earthenware jar was one of the objects brought back from the painter’s trip to Morocco in 1832; some of them were bequeathed to his friend, the Orientalist painter Charles Cournault (1815-1904). The museum has a number of items from this collection of Moroccan objects.

 

The design of this gurglet is characteristic of works produced in Fez: it features glazes of bright yellow, pine green, and blue. The highlights of red dots (made of red lead) were added after firing. The pattern consists of superimposed registers; the neck is decorated with bifid palmettes inside a field bordered of a yellow line within two manganese lines. The body has four yellow arabesques, adorned with palmettes, along with blue and green fleurons, and small green cruciform motifs with red dots in the corners. The handles are decorated in green enamel.

The Morocco trip

In 1832, Eugène Delacroix was part of Comte de Mornay’s diplomatic mission to the Sultan of Morocco, Muley Abd-err-Rahmann. He traveled throughout the country, from Tangiers to Mekne, for nearly six months (January to July); he also visited Algeria and southern Spain on his way back to France. In addition to the drawings, notes, and sketches that filled pages of his notebooks, Delacroix also brought back a number of typical objects. These included a large number of characteristic earthenware pieces by Fez craftsmen: small pots with handles, pitchers, bowls, dishes, plates. These ceramics, used as household utensils, are always richly decorated with geometric or floral patterns.

Charles Cournault: a loyal friend

This gurglet was part of a group of Moroccan objects, including a chest, ceramics, clothing, weapons, and musical instruments, which Etienne Cournault gave to the Société des Amis d’Eugène Delacroix. His grandfather, Charles Cournault (1815-1904), also made two trips to Algeria, in 1840 and 1843, after working a short time in Delacroix’s studio in 1839. For several years, he maintained a strong friendship with the master through their shared memories of travels. Delacroix would not forget him when he wrote his will, as he bequeathed to Cournault the objects he brought back from his Morrocan trip.

Documentation

Lee Johnson, "La collection Charles Cournault", in Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire de l’Art français, 1978, p. 249 - 262.

Alain Loviconi, Dalila Belfitah, Regards sur la faïence de Fès, Aix-en-Provence, 1991, p. 72-73.

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