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Tobacco jar - Pot à tabac

Pot à tabac

  • Object:

    Tobacco jar

  • Place of origin:

    Sèvres (made)

  • Date:

    1778 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sèvres porcelain factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    hard-paste porcelain, painted in enamels and gilded

  • Museum number:

    970&A-1854

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 1, case CA12 []

In eighteenth-century Western Europe both men and women smoked tobacco in pipes and took it as snuff. Taking snuff was more popular and fashionable than smoking. Jars like this were for probably used for both tobacco and snuff. Some have loops at the back to hold a spoon of porcelain or precious metal.

The discovery of the clay, kaolin, in France in 1768 enabled the French porcelain factories to produce hard-paste porcelain, closer in its material properties to that made in Germany, Austria and China.

The use of hard-paste porcelain not only enabled the incorporation of sharper colours and designs, but also shaped the transition to the use of simpler forms in the porcelain bodies produced around 1770 and 1800.

Hard-paste porcelain was less expensive to produce and prompted the development of a new range of enamel colours and gilding techniques. Gilding had previously been applied to soft-paste porcelain in the form of layers of crushed gold leaf, which were painted on before firing. The new methods involved a much more economical, chemically 'precipated' gold powder. It could be applied in much thinner layers and was more durable.

Physical description

Tobacco jar and cover, 'Pot à tabac', hard-paste porcelain, decorated with musical trophies painted in enamels and gilded. The reserve on the front includes a plumed straw hat with blue and white ribbon and pink and purple feathers, a bagpipe, a clarinet, a rose branch and other foliage. The lid has similar decoration and a spherical gilded knop.

Place of Origin

Sèvres (made)

Date

1778 (made)

Artist/maker

Sèvres porcelain factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

hard-paste porcelain, painted in enamels and gilded

Marks and inscriptions

Interlaced 'L's enclosing letters 'AA' and red enamel crown
Maker's mark in red enamel with date letter 'AA' and red enamel crown

a pair of semi-quavers
Painter's mark, in red enamel for L.-G. Chulot

Dimensions

Height: 16.8 cm, Diameter: 11 cm

Object history note

Bought for £2 2s.

Descriptive line

Tobacco jar and cover, 'Pot à tabac', hard-paste porcelain, decorated with musical trophies painted in enamels and gilt, Sèvres porcelain factory, France, 1778.

Labels and date

Tobacco or snuff jar
1778

Both women and men smoked tobacco in pipes and sniffed it in powdered form as snuff. Taking snuff was more popular and fashionable than smoking. Both smoking and snuff-taking were thought to enhance creative and intellectual work, but snuff had greater status since the nose was seen as a direct passage to the brain, the seat of reason.

France (Paris)
Made at the Sèvres factory
Porcelain painted in enamels and gilded
[09/12/2015]

Materials

Hard-paste porcelain

Techniques

Painted

Subjects depicted

Roses; Trophies; Bagpipes; Clarinets; Hats; Feathers

Categories

Ceramics; Porcelain; Personal accessories; Containers

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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