Mettlach: Folklore & Fairy Tales

Exhibition Dates: Through July 31, 2018
Reception: Saturday, October 8, 5:00-8:00pm
Free and open to the public.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Image: Mettlach, Lohengrin’s Arrival, plaque handpainted ceramics. Gift of Colette & Robert Wilson.

Folktales have been found in cultures throughout the world. Many folktales emerged simultaneously and independently of one another, suggesting that cultures shared parallel narratives.

The Roman historian Strabo recorded one of the earliest versions of Cinderella in the first century B.C. The classic fairy tale Hansel and Gretel was based on real events during the Great Famine of 1315 A.D. In the late 1600’s French author Charles Perrault, wrote stories derived from folktales including Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Puss in Boots, The Sleeping Beauty and Bluebeard.

The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440 improved the speed of printing books. The Industrial Revolution and advancements in printing technologies increased the quantity of books and reduced the cost of producing books. These innovations enabled writers such as Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm to collect, document, and share classic folklore and fairy tales with a much larger audience. The Mettlach: Folklore and Fairy Tales exhibition includes 140 objects.

HISTORY OF METTLACH
In 1748, François Boch began manufacturing ceramic dinnerware in France. In 1809, the Boch family purchased a former Benedictine abbey in Mettlach, Germany. Mettlach is located on the Saar River near the border of France. Jean-François Boch, François Boch’s grandson, designed many of the machines used to improve production at the new facility.

In 1791, Nicholas Villeroy acquired an earthenware factory in Germany. Villeroy brought in specialists from England and France to modernize production and around 1815 they developed a printing process to create decals that could be fired onto clay (prints under glaze.)

The two families merged their ceramic companies in 1836 to create Villeroy and Boch (V&B). The Mettlach factory reached its peak about 1880 but began to decline around in the early 1900’s due to a downturn in the economy and World War I. Today, V&B continues to produce bathroom wares, tableware, and other ceramics.