The name “Nevers” refers to a group of faïence factories in the Bourgogne region of France. The first was founded around 1588 by three brothers from Italy, who brought with them the Italian majolica tradition. By the mid-seventeenth century, the potteries were producing objects in a distinctly French style, but also designs influenced by those found on imported Chinese porcelain. The quality of Nevers pottery is exceptionally high and reflects the best of the seventeenth-century French pottery tradition.
This large vase was used to hold a bush or small tree, probably of some exoticness or rarity, which would have been housed over winter in an orangerie, or greenhouse. It is decorated with lively chinoiseries—imitations of Chinese art that were seldom accurate and always rendered with deference to the European stylistic ideals of the time. The molded handles are unusual in the oeuvre of the Nevers potteries.