By 1956 Picasso had been working for ten years at the Madoura pottery in Vallauris, producing decorated ceramics, including platters. While examining some recent work with art historian Douglas Cooper, Picasso commented how splendid they would look in silver but lamented not knowing anyone who could undertake the project. Cooper proposed that the artist engage the assistance of silversmiths François and Pierre Hugo. In September 1956 an agreement was made by which Picasso would provide a number of plates in biscuit for the Hugos to execute in silver. 'These platters are not posthumous "inventions" decorated with motifs culled from a variety of authentic works by Picasso: each one was individually selected, designed, seen, approved and cherished by Picasso himself during his lifetime. However, when Picasso ordered the first plates from François Hugo, he apparently intended to keep them for himself, and had not thought of allowing more to be made for sale to the public. Thus, at the start, their existence was wrapped in secrecy, Picasso repeatedly refused to loan any of them to an exhibition and, although he was full of admiration for the results achieved and delighted in contemplating these platters, he concealed them from view when visitors were around as though they constituted some private treasure... Consequently, very few people enjoyed the privilege of seeing these platters during their years of seclusion in Picasso's studio. Moreover, even after Picasso had at last (in 1967) authorised François Hugo to make a small, numbered edition of each for sale, only those friends who happened to visit his workshop while he was executing any of them might be fortunate enough to see a few specimens before they were dispatched to their respective purchasers' (D. Cooper, Picasso, 19 plats en argent par François et Pierre Hugo, Paris, 1977).