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Tureen, cover and stand

  • Place of origin:

    Sceaux (made)

  • Date:

    c.1755-c.1765 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sceaux pottery factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin-glazed earthenware painted in enamels and gilded

  • Museum number:

    473 to B-1870

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, room 3, case CA2 []

The architect and buildings contractor Louis-François de Bey had owned an earthenware (faïence) factory at Sceaux from 1739. However in 1748 he established a new porcelain and faïence factory there under the aegis of the duchesse de Maine, Louise-Bénédicte de Bourbon-Condé, wife of Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, duc de Maine and legitimised son of Louis XIV and Mme. de Montespan. This royal couple had been forced to retire from court and repair to their chateau at Sceaux after having been implicated in a plot against the Regent during the minority of Louis XV. Following the example of the Prince de Condé at Chantilly and the duc de Villeroy at Mennecy, they gave their protection to their local porcelain manufactory under control of de Bey. The potter Jaccques Chapelle was de Bey's main collaborator at Sceaux. He had learnt his trade as a faïencier in the Paris region and then spent a significant period at the Strasbourg porcelain and faïence factory. At Sceaux he was able to attract experienced painters, turners, mould makers, modellers and sculptors from many different factories and thus played an important part in the factory's development. In 1754 the painter Joseph Jullien arrived. He was to become head of the painters' workshop and finally joint Director in 1763 together with the sculptor Symphorien Jacques.

In the mid-18th century the production of French porcelain manufactories was restricted by the exclusive monopoly or privilège granted to the royal Vincennes (later Sèvres) porcelain factory by King Louis XV in 1745. Sceaux had initially intended to make soft-paste porcelain in Meissen style similar to Vincennes, but were forced instead to continue making faïence and porcelain often with more restrained decoration to avoid infringing the ban on competing with Vincennes. By the 1760s the law dictating the kinds of things factories were allowed to make was no longer so strictly enforced and the decoration at Sceaux became more varied, imitating the fashions set by Sèvres.

This tureen is faïence. Large covered serving dishes of this type were used for serving meaty stews or soups and would have provided a focus on the dining table flanked by other dishes of vegetables and salads. This tureen with its curvaceous profile and naturalistic decoration and modelling, embodies the rococo style, which continued to be the major stylistic influence in faïence production well into the final quarter of the 18th century. Rococo pottery and porcelain tureens frequently feature handles, legs and finials naturalistically moulded and painted as fruit, vegetables, game, or fish. On soup tureens these often indicate the nature of the foodstuffs they were intended to serve. Here, the cover of the tureen has handles formed as artichokes and lemons and is decorated with a bunch of grapes and a gherkin.

Physical description

Tureen, cover and stand made from tin-glazed earthenware, the white ground painted with scattered flowers and bouquets in pink, blue, green and yellow enamels and gilded. The edges of the tureen, lid and stand are gilded, as are the scrolled details; the fluted edges, feet and acanthus details are picked out in maroon.

The oval, bulbous tureen has a flared rim with fluted edge, surmounted at the sides by a band moulded to resemble a ribbon spiralling around a cord, decorated in blue and gilt. The scrolled handles have acanthus leaf finials; one finial is restored. The feet are of moulded scrolls rising to acanthus leaves. The tureen is marked with the monogram 'C' over 'S' painted in black.

The lid, also with a fluted, wavy edge, has a naturalistic moulded finial of oak leaves, acorns, a lemon, two artichokes, a bunch of grapes, a floral sprig, and a gherkin. The lobed oval stand is edged by a band of the moulded ribbon decoration as on the tureen. The handles are moulded with a stylised eagle around a rococo cartouche.

Place of Origin

Sceaux (made)

Date

c.1755-c.1765 (made)

Artist/maker

Sceaux pottery factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Tin-glazed earthenware painted in enamels and gilded

Marks and inscriptions

'C' over 'S' painted in monogram in black

Dimensions

Height: 310 mm assembled, Width: 490 mm assembled, Depth: 365 mm assembled

Object history note

Bought from the Aigoin collection.

The Sceaux porcelain and faïence factory was set up in 1748 under the aegis of the duchesse de Maine, Louise-Bénédicte de Bourbon-Condé, wife of Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, duc de Maine and legitimised son of Louis XIV and Mme. de Montespan. This royal couple was forced to retire from court and repair to their chateau at Sceaux after having been implicated in a plot against the Regent during the minority of Louis XV. Following the example of the Prince de Condé at Chantilly and the duc de Villeroy at Mennecy, they gave their protection to their local porcelain manufactory under the control of Louis-François Bey. Fortuitously he installed Jacques Chapelle as his Director. Chapelle had learnt his trade as a faïencier in the Paris region and then spent a significant period at Strasbourg. He was able to attract experienced painters, turners, mould makers, modellers and sculptors from many different factories and thus played an important part in the Sceaux's rise to prominence. In 1754 the painter Joseph Jullien arrived. He was to become head of the decoraters' workshop and finally director in 1763, jointly with the sculptor Symphorien Jacques.
In 1753 the duchesse de Maine died and her son, Louis-Charles de Bourbon, comte d'Eu and duc d'Aumale succeeded her as the factory's protector. In 1759 Bey also died, leaving Chapelle as the factory's sole owner. In 1763 Chapelle in turn took a step back from involvement at Sceaux, returning to Paris to pursue other ventures. However, he leased the factory for nine years to Jullien and Jacques who jointly formed a company 'pour la fabrique et le commerce de porcelaines et de fayences'.
The restrictions placed on manufactories by the exclusive privilège bestowed on the royal Vincennes/Sèvres porcelain factory by King Louis XV had an impact on what Sceaux was legally able to produce. Initially the factory had intended to make soft-paste porcelain in Meissen style, but they instead made faïence and porcelain with no gilding or figure decoration, concentrating on floral decoration. by the 1760s the law dictating what factories were allowed to make was no longer so strictly enforced and the decoration became more varied, imitating the fashions set by Sèvres.

Descriptive line

Oval tureen, cover and stand made from tin-glazed earthenware, painted in enamels and gilt, Sceaux pottery factory, France, about 1755-1765.

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

Dorothee Guillemé-Brulon. Histoire de la Faïence Française, Paris & Rouen, Editions Massin, Paris 1998. See pp 147-152 for a brief account of the factory's history and a section on flower decoration with examples.

Labels and date

Soup tureen and stand
About 1755–65

Soups were part of a revolution in French cooking. Rococo soup tureens were often painted and moulded to represent the foodstuffs they were intended to serve. Here the cover has handles formed as artichokes and lemons. It is also decorated with a bunch of grapes and a gherkin. As well as vegetables and fruit, tureens might feature naturalistic game or fish.

France (Paris)
Made at the Sceaux pottery factory
Tin-glazed earthenware painted in enamels and gilded
[09/12/2015]

Production Note

Acquired as Marseilles, Savy factory; reattributed to Sceaux.

Materials

Earthenware; Enamel; Tin glaze

Techniques

Glazed; Fired; Gilded; Painted

Subjects depicted

Rococo; Scrollwork; Vegetables; Scalloping; Eagles; Cartouches; Floral patterns

Categories

Ceramics; Earthenware; Tableware & cutlery; Earthenware; Faience; Food vessels & Tableware; Eating

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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