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Figure group - Venus and Adonis

Venus and Adonis

  • Object:

    Figure group

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    1750-1755 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Vincennes porcelain factory (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Biscuit porcelain, with gilt metal mount

  • Credit Line:

    Given by J. H. Fitzhenry

  • Museum number:

    C.356-1909

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case 50

The most important French porcelain factory was founded in 1740 in the royal chateau of Vincennes. In 1756 it was transferred to Sèvres, the other side of Paris, and shortly after was bought by Louis XV. The support and protection of the king and his mistress, Madame de Pompadour, enabled it to secure the best artists, sculptors, designers and chemists. Sèvres porcelain soon became the most sought after in Europe.
The royal manufactory at Sèvres specialised in luxury porcelains, many of which were destined for the French court. Each year it displayed its newest models in the king's apartments at Versailles. The factory was very responsive to changes in fashion and introduced many innovations in design and decoration. Its products were admired throughout Europe and its style was widely imitated.

This figure group is one of Vincennes' earliest productions, probably made before the introduction of biscuit porcelain for sculptural work in 1751. It showcases the factory's much admired ivory white 'soft-paste' body. Like other 'soft-pastes' (imitation porcelains), this was made with a variety of ingredients other than kaolin and china stone. These includes sand, saltpetre and alabaster, which could be fused together for up to 50 hours, ground up for about three weeks, dried and crushed again, before being mixed with clay. Incredibly expensive and labout intensive to produce - and also vulnerable to damage during firing and use - this was eventually phased out after the discovery of kaolin at Limoges and the subsequent manufacture of 'hard paste' in the 1770s.

Physical description

L'Heure du Berger group, perhaps representing Zephyrus and Flora, biscuit porcelain with gilt metal mount,Vincennes manufactory, France, 1750-1755.

Place of Origin

France (made)

Date

1750-1755 (made)

Artist/maker

Vincennes porcelain factory (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Biscuit porcelain, with gilt metal mount

Dimensions

Height: 29.2 cm, Width: 27.9 cm, Depth: 20.3 cm

Descriptive line

L'Heure du Berger group, perhaps representing Zephyrus and Flora, biscuit porcelain with gilt metal mount,Vincennes manufactory, France, 1750-1755.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Greenhalgh, Paul (Ed.), Art Nouveau: 1890-1914 . London: V&A Publications, 2000

Materials

Porcelain; Gold

Techniques

Firing; Shaping; Gilding

Categories

Figures & Decorative ceramics

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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