European Art Trades Days 2017

19th century plate decoarted with the abduction of Europe by Zeus
19th century plate decoarted with the abduction of Europe by Zeus

The first weekend of April was, like each year, the weekend of the European Art Trades Days.
When you live in Toulouse – like I do – the first name that comes to mind when talking about art trades is “Martres-Tolosane”, the name of a little town, some 60km southwest of Toulouse, that also designates a ceramic style.
The town of Martres-Tolosane, a round bastide, has been since the 18th century nationally famous for its ceramics and is still the home of many crockery artists who to this day use for their trade the same centuries old, done by hand methods.
Old Houses in Martres-Tolosane
Old Houses in Martres-Tolosane

Martres-Tolosane has a very old history. Near the nowadays town the Romans built in the 1st century BC a huge, luxurious villa, called now villa Chiragan. Successive excavations of the site allowed the discovery of exceptional antique sculptures now on display at Saint Raymond Museum of Toulouse.
Another event that marked the history of Martres-Tolosane was the 9th century battle between the armies of Charlemagne and the Saracens that took place at “Le Campestrés” on the bank of the Garonne River. The Francs army led by Vidian, a Duke of the Carolingian Empire, was outnumbered by the Saracens and Vidian and his companions were massacred and martyred on the battlefield. According to the legend the tomb of Vidian and those of his comrades became sites of miracles and the location of their deaths came to be known as the Martres-Tolosane or the martyrs of Toulouse.
The relics of Saint Vidian are kept in the town’s church dedicated to the saint.
Saint Vidian Church of Martres-Tolosane
Saint Vidian Church of Martres-Tolosane
Reliquary of Saint Vidian sculpted in 1635
Reliquary of Saint Vidian sculpted in 1635

Each year on Trinity Sunday the people of Martres-Tolosane celebrate the transfer of the relics of Saint Vidian to a new reliquary with a high mass and the re-enactment of the battle of Le Campestrés between Christian and Saracen troops.

Martres-Tolosane Cabaré Ceramics
Martres-Tolosane Cabaré Ceramics

Martres-Tolosane Ceramics dating from 1914
Martres-Tolosane ceramics dating from 1914

Martres-Tolosane fish plate
Martres-Tolosane fish plate
Martres-Tolosane ceramic lavatory
Martres-Tolosane ceramic lavatory
Martres-Tolosane ceramics
Martres-Tolosane ceramics
Greek style vases
Greek style vases
Ceramic vase dating from the beginning of the 20th century
Ceramic vase dating from the beginning of the 20th century
Ceramics dating from 1955
Ceramics dating from 1955
Little street in the bastide of Martres-Tolosane
Little street in the bastide of Martres-Tolosane
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