Fernand Moreau, the designer of this pedestal, trained as a sculptor in his native France before immigrating to America in 1880. Moreau opened a studio in Washington, D.C., and then moved to Chicago sometime before the 1893 World?s Fair. By 1902 he was teaching ornamental modeling at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1904 he went to work for Gates Potteries, joining Fritz Albert, the factory?s chief modeler. Albert left for the Northwestern Terra Cotta Company in 1906, and Moreau followed a few years later.
This pedestal was designed as a base for a molded terra-cotta lamp featuring a seminude female figure by Fritz Albert. At some point over the years, pedestal and lamp were separated. The cast decoration of the base consists of an imaginary Egyptian cityscape and a stylized cat and owl.