These two beautiful semi-circular pediments in painted terracotta were produced in Toulouse in the 19th century by the Virebent house, an artistic ceramic factory which shaped the ornamentation of neo-classical architecture in Toulouse, and whose success and popularity importance have been brought to light in recent years by an important research work carried out by Nelly Desseaux.
This family brickyard in Launaguet (municipality of Toulouse) renewed the art of terracotta in the 1830s, and participated in the democratization of sculpture on the facades of the "pink city" by developing "plinthotomy", a technical process allowing the clay to be molded directly into its final shape before being baked using a mechanical punch system. Thus able to produce in large quantities and in a very short time, the Virebent factory then began to sell statues, columns and friezes in painted terracotta imitating stone, inspired by the ornamental vocabulary of antiquity and Renaissance. Prized by the rising bourgeoisie, who used them to adorn their facades abundantly and thus display their social success in the eyes of all, the success of these productions was total and only dried up at the dawn of the First World War.
Most likely formerly crowning the windows on the facade, our two half-moon high reliefs host in their center the bust portraits of a man and a woman, dressed and combed in Renaissance fashion. These are quite comparable with the half-moon reliefs produced by the Virebent factory which adorn the facade of 10 rue Peyres in Toulouse, or that of the building at the corner of de la Pomme and rue duweight. oil. All would have been made according to the busts of the Rood screen of the cathedral of Saint-Bertrand de Comminges, a high place of regional heritage. Our reliefs certainly also find their origin there.