Six Objects to celebrate Limerick Bastille Day Wild Geese Festival 2021

//Six Objects to celebrate Limerick Bastille Day Wild Geese Festival 2021

Six Objects to celebrate Limerick Bastille Day Wild Geese Festival 2021

Cette juillet, nous célébrons le 14 juillet et le 330e anniversaire du Vol des oies sauvages.

This July, Limerick celebrates Bastille Day, and the 330th anniversary of the Flight of the Wild Geese. To mark this, our docents explore six French objects from the Hunt Museum collection.

Research by Noreen Lomasney, Jean Murphy and Bernadette Robson, Hunt Museum Docents



Gilded Bourdaloue, 18th Century



Gilded bourdaloue | Porcelain (gilded) | c.18th | Hunt Museum | PD


By Noreen Lomasney

A Bourdaloue is an 18th century slipper-shaped lady’s urinal. Most were made between 1725 and 1770 and manufactured in factories in both Europe and Asia.

Legend has it that the name bourdaloue evolved from Louis Bourdaloue, a Jesuit priest, who gave very popular but very long sermons in the court of Louis XIV in Versailles. So that her mistress would not miss any of the sermon, when nature called, a maid was expected to carry this portable vessel and empty it after use!

Consider the spreading hoops of an 18th century lady draped with yards and yards of fabric and petticoats and you will understand the convenience of the bourdaloue whether in a palace court, theatre or when travelling by coach. Remember also that public toilets did not exist in the 18th century! Generally made from porcelain or earthenware, handsome and utilitarian in design, the bourdaloue remained in use throughout the Victorian era, even when skirts shrank in size at the end of 18th century.


Sarah Murden, ‘What was a Bourdaloue?’ [Blog]

Susan Holloway Scott, ‘Useful and Necessary: The Bourdaloue’  


Berlin Ironwork Tiara, c.1825



Berlin ironwork tiara | Iron (cast), Enamel | c.19th | Hunt Museum | PD


By Bernadette Robson

In the 18th century in France, Napoleon called on the French to donate their jewellery to fund his expansion into Europe. Initially, all kinds of valuables were given with fervour and enthusiasm but by 1794 the enthusiasm had waned; the remaining aristocratic families were persecuted, the entirety of their possessions inventoried and anything of value confiscated. When Napoleon invaded Berlin in 1806 he removed most of the casts used to make iron jewellery from the Royal Berlin Foundry and sent them to Paris.

During the final campaign to free Germany from Napoleon’s grip, funding was needed to pay for the various battles and assaults. Those with valuables, including jewellery, were encouraged to donate to the war-chest – just as in France twenty years earlier. Donors were given ironwork jewellery replacements, though not copies, often inscribed “I gave gold for iron.” The iron was lacquered to prevent rust forming. Between 1813 and 1815 more than 40,000 pieces of ironwork jewellery were made. Until this war of liberation, black jewellery was reserved for mourning but it was now seen as patriotic.


The Hunt Museum Essential Guide

Wikipedia – Berlin iron jewellery


Painting of God the Father attributed to Nicholas Froment, 15th Century



Painting,God the Father | Tempera and gold on panel | c.15th | Hunt Museum | PD


By Noreen Lomasney

This painting is attributed to Nicholas Froment, who was probably born in Picardie, Northern France, between 1430–1435. Froment was an official painter in the court of René d’ Anjou who ruled over Anjou, la Lorraine and la Provence. The painting may have been commissioned for his private chapel in Aix-en-Provence. The panel depicts God the Father and is probably a small section of a much larger wooden altarpiece depicting the Trinity. We don’t know why this part was removed, but it was not an uncommon occurrence and could have been due to restrictions on church ornaments during the Catholic Reformation.

God the Father is depicted as elderly and bearded, wearing a rich red robe. Red was the colour of royalty, indicative of a God sitting on his heavenly throne. The downturned corners of his mouth are from an age of a judgemental God demanding awe and reverence. Mystery surrounds much of Nicolas Froment’s work as it is only documented from 1461–1482. He is regarded as a specialist in religious paintings and mastered the technique of oil on wood. Unfortunately most of his works have disappeared, making this one very special.


Patrick Aulnas, ‘Nicolas Froment’

Léon-Honoré Labande, ‘Le peintre Nicolas Froment.’ Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Séance du 11 septembre, pp.273-274.


The Beaufort, Turenne and Comminges Tapestry, 14th Century



Beaufort, Turenne and Comminges Tapestry Fragment | Wool, Cotton, Canvas | c.14th | Hunt Museum | PD


By Jean Murphy

This is a highly restored wool tapestry bearing the coats of arms of the Beaufort, Turenne and Comminges families.  It is one of the few armorial tapestries pre-dating the 15th century which is known to have survived.  This piece here in The Hunt Museum forms part of a larger series of what was originally a tapestry set.

In the medieval period, tapestries served as a tangible sign of a family’s rank, wealth and power. This tapestry was most likely made for Guillaume Rogier III, Comte de Beaufort, his wife, Alienor de Comminges, and their son Raymond, Vicomte de Turenne. The marriage between Rogier and Alienor in 1349 was arranged, in part, by his uncle Pope Clement VI. Rogier became rector of the papal city of Avignon when his brother was made Pope Gregory XI in 1370. Gregory was the last ever pope to reign in Avignon.

There are many symbols in the tapestry’s repeating pattern. The turreted walls enclosing the animals on the bottom may be those of Avignon itself. The stylised storks are a symbol of St. Agricola, first bishop of Avignon. The walls and storks may represent the physical and spiritual protection afforded to the city, while the coats of arms indicate the armed force available to protect it and the papacy in times of danger.


The Hunt Museum Essential Guide

Niamh O Sullivan – Beaufort, Turenne & Comminges Tapestry Fragment (Hunt Library)


Te Nave, Nave Fenua (The Delightful Land), c. 1893 by Paul Gauguin



Te Nave, Nave Fenua [The Delightful Land] | Watercolour monotype | c.19th | Hunt Museum | PD


By Jean Murphy

Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) is perhaps best known for his colourful and stylised paintings of Brittany and Tahiti. During his first visit to Tahiti in 1891 he produced a romanticised account of his travels, Noa Noa (Fragrance), which he planned to publish on his return to France.   Te Nave, Nave Fenua (The Delightful Land) is one of the images intended to illustrate the publication. Gauguin exhibited a painting of the subject in Paris in 1893, which he then adapted as a print and then in a series of drawings and monotypes. 

In this print, Gaugin attempts to capture a lost innocence, suggesting his preoccupation with the portrayal of an earthly tropical paradise. Its subject is a native Eve, but without any associations of sin or guilt. The young nude girl, with a flying lizard hovering beside her face, is a translation of the theme of temptation in a tropical setting. Such ideas Gauguin saw as having been introduced by Christian missionaries, to whose work he was bitterly opposed: “the introduction of the Christian concept of sin which anthropologists agreed was absent from traditional native beliefs, particularly sin relating to matters of sexual and material possession, was widely recognised as one of the most traumatic aspects of Tahiti’s colonisation by Europeans.” 

The watercolour is signed, lower left, with the artist’s stamp, ‘PGO’.


The Hunt Museum Essential Guide

 David Mc Burnie – Two versions of the primitive (Hunt Library)


Faience Pilgrim Flask from Nevers, 17th century



Faience pilgrim flask | Earthenware pottery (tin-glazed) | c.17th | Hunt Museum | PD


By Bernadette Robson

We can see many stories and connections by looking at this pilgrim flask made in Nevers in the 17th century. The most obvious is the tradition of following the Camino de Santiago, then there is the pottery factory in Nevers, and lastly, the French King, Henri IV (1553-1610).

The shape is traditional for such a flask and the scallop shell-decoration tells us that it was probably made as a memento for those who had completed the Camino pilgrimage. Perhaps the bishop is Eustache de Lys who was chaplain to Henri IV and was appointed by him Bishop of Nevers in 1606.

The Nevers factory, whose speciality was faience or tin-glazed earthenware, was established in 1580 and lasted until the early 19th century. Henri IV granted an Italian company, Gambin & Conrade, sole right, for 30 years, to manufacture in Nevers. Early items such as this flask had their decoration stencilled on, using popular prints as guides. Later, Henri established trade with the East and designs were copied from Chinese and Japanese pottery.


The Hunt Museum Essential Guide

Wikipedia – Nevers faience 



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