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Cox is located to the northwest of Toulouse. (see map in new window) This village has a tradition of pottery making that stretches from the mid-16th-century until the mid-20th century.
Like at Giroussens and in the Lomagne, potters at Cox produced hand-painted tablewares. They used blue, green, and manganese, like the Lomagne workshops. (Giroussens on the other hand used much less blue, and some yellow). The fabric of Cox wares changed over time, but during the 17th and 18th centuries, it was a sandy whitish to light buff fabric, with characteristic large red inclusions. Even though they were of a lighter shade than the Lomagne or the Giroussens wares, Cox painters still used a coat of white slip, to make an even light background for their painted decorations.
Cox's main export to North America was its cooking pots.
A recent study of the Cox potters' historical records has revealed the important role of the so-called traiginers (Ferrier 2000). The first traiginers of the area were merchant-peddlers and resellers of grain, animals and other commodities. Very early on, they took over the ceramic trade. They made the rounds of potters' boutiques, and negotiated with them to buy their ceramics. They would load the wares into a type of wagon known as a trajine, and travel by road back to the large urban markets, like Toulouse or Bordeaux. There, they would sell the ceramics directly to consumers and resellers. Although it has not been demonstrated yet, the trade at other pottery centers might have been organized the same way. Interestingly, from their very beginning, these ceramics were marketed on a wide regional scale.
Today, the workshop of the last potter that worked at Cox has been preserved as the La Maison du Potier, museum. The original kiln, several potter's wheels and other tools were preserved after the potter retired in 1952.
Typical potter's house at Cox, circa 1940. (from Ferrier 2000)
|© 2006 Myriam Arcangeli|