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between these dealers, though the two first are generally the best supplied. Their knowledge, however, of the art-gems they profess to sell is very mediocre, and their prices most exorbitant; nevertheless, the very fact, of their comparative ignorance is the best chance for the practical buyer, who thus, if the wind be in his favour, may chance to carry off something worthy his collection. And as for the price demanded—bah! was there ever a correctly-judging bric-a-brac hunter who had not the courage to offer about one-half, say one-third, of that price? or was there ever a seller who had the honesty to refuse the bid? Of course I by no means include in these sweeping opinions the higher class of dealers, the sellers of first-class objets d'art.
With reference to those of Marseilles, I neither wish to be uncourteous nor unkind when I say they are by no means to be found in that society. The wherefore is easily explained. The Marseillais taste, among rich or poor, high or low, male or female, does not rank high; in fact, the city is essentially democratic in taste as in politics. Ponderous furniture, modern pictures and modern china, big vases, much gilding, gorgeous colouring, an excessive gaudiness both in dress and decoration, with little art or beauty, prevail in that commercial hemisphere. The wealthy trader of Marseilles would pass by a lovely specimen of Wedgwood or Capo di Monte, and purchase some modern abomination in French china highly decorated and gilded, to adorn his rooms; while his wife, if he have one, would select the most gorgeous silk and the brightest Persian shawl with which to bedeck her person. Thus it is not often that anything really worthy of being added to an amateur collection is to be secured in this city. It by no means follows, however, that gems are -not occasionally met with here; and he who loves such acquisitions never neglects the smallest chance of a bargain. Nor should the collector on any account fail to explore the emporiums of Marseilles. I shall endeavour to explain the why and the wherefore.
Marseilles is essentially a thoroughfare to and from the East, as well as to Spain and Italy, by the water-route, and hundreds are wise enough to know that art-treasures can be disposed of enpassant there as elsewhere. Consequently various ceramic specimens do find their way into the hands of the dealers, from whom they pass onwards to Paris at a premium, not seldom being cheaply purchased and dearly sold. Now, if you can only stop a Capo di Monte group on its way from Italy, or a Bueno Retiro vase from Spain, or aught else, before it takes flight to the imperial city, which on more than one occasion it has been my good fortune to do, it will well repay you the trouble of an hour's visit to the bric-a-brac shops of the Rue de Paradis.
La Provence could formerly boast of several manufactures of pottery; but not till the end of the seventeenth century did it produce glazed or enamelled pottery, some time after that of Moustiers.
The first fabricant at Marseilles was Jean Delarisse, in 1769; whereas in the middle of the eighteenth century there were several artists, some of whom produced enamelled pottery.
Robert of Marseilles was another distinguished name. His works were first produced in 1793.
The widow Perrin, or Madame Perrin Veuve, as she was called, was, I believe, the last celebrated producer. Many specimens of her ware may still be found. They are generally marked with a monogram of the letters V. P. (Veuve Perrin), and are very interesting. During a recent hunt at Madrid with an Italian friend who holds deservedly a high rank in the diplomatic service of his country, and who has recently had a severe attack of the "bric-a-brac" fever, we discovered several extremely interesting plates in glazed pottery, all marked with the V. P., and evidently the production of Madame Perrin's factory. In the centre of each was a well-painted pastoral landscape of considerable beauty. I consequently brought one to England, and produced it to some connoisseurs and dealers. The former pronounced my plate an interesting specimen, but of little beauty; the latter scarcely understood it, and, looking on its marketable value, pronounced it not equal to a Bristol mustard-pot. So much for the incurable fashion in this age of moneymaking. Nevertheless, I strongly urge on all lovers of bric-a-brac who may chance to find themselves at Marseilles, which, after all, seems to have derived its name from a ceramic treasure, never to neglect a raid when visiting that city.
A certain king who had a daughter fair,—
An only child,—promised her that she
Should in her nuptial choice unfettered be;
And said: "This day a goodly company
Will hither come to seek thy hand, and he
Knights, nobles, princes, thronged the bannered ground.
The blushing maiden cast her eyes around,
Though born to greatness. He, to mark the spot
Where fortune gave for him so bright a lot,
And now, the weather being fine, and the sea calm, say in the latter end of May and early June, the trip by sail or steamer to Messina is not the most unpleasant undertaking in life; moreover, it is of short duration. I am not aware as to whether the patriotism of Garibaldi ever moved him to collect the art treasures of the country he loves so