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Saucer - Soucoupe

Soucoupe

  • Object:

    Saucer

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    1761 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sèvres porcelain factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Soft-paste porcelain, painted in enamels and gilt

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:

    768F-1882

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 2a, case CA2

This saucer is part of a delightful Sèvres porcelain tea service or déjeuner,made in 1761. The matching items in the service are all decorated with the fashionable pink ground colour rose, and the white reserves have fanciful military trophies hung with triumphal garlands of flowers. Although the mark of the painter Charles Buteux the elder appears on the underside of only one of the other saucers in the set, it is probable he was responsible for the decoration of all the items as he specialised in painting trophies. This set is an early example of his trophy painting as during the first years following his arrival in 1757, he experimented with painting animals and cherubs before finding a subject that suited him. The tray on which all the service items sit was new in 1761 as the shape had only been introduced in the preceding year. It is thought the tray shape matches entries in the Sèvres records for plateau Duplessis after the chief designer at the factory, Jean-Claude Duplessis. Its undulating profile and the light-hearted decoration of all the pieces with their rich colours and densely scrolling gilded borders, make this tea service a typical example of the French rococo style. It may seem strange that there is no teapot here to match the other pieces however this was not unusual at the time as silver teapots on burners were often used to boil water for tea.

In the nineteenth century when John Jones bought this set he may have thought it had previously been owned by the mistress of Louis XV, Mme de Pompadour, or by the mistress of Louis XVI, Mme du Barry as this pink ground colour was routinely described as Rose Dubarry or Rose Pompadour by English dealers. The service is too early in date to have any connection to Mme du Barry and there is no evidence to suggest that either lady favoured this colour over the other rich ground colours used at Sèvres. On the death of Mme de Pompadour in 1764, porcelain of all colours was recorded in the inventory of her properties. The service is one of the many wonderful things in the art collection bequeathed to the nation by John Jones on his death in 1882.

Physical description

Saucer, soft-paste porcelain, rounded sides, no indent, decorated with trophies painted in enamels and with gilding on a pink ground. Rim hole.

Place of Origin

France (made)

Date

1761 (made)

Artist/maker

Sèvres porcelain factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Soft-paste porcelain, painted in enamels and gilt

Marks and inscriptions

'H' within interlaced 'L's
Maker's mark, in blue enamel with date letter 'H'

S backwards
incised

Dimensions

Diameter: 13.3 cm

Object history note

John Jones Bequest, Cat. no. 119.

Descriptive line

Saucer, decorated with trophies painted in enamels, Sèvres porcelain factory, France, 1761

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

Peters, David. An examination of Vincennes and early Sèvres date letters. The French Porcelain Society, A transcript of the talk given at the French Porcelain Society Study Day on 17 June 2014. London, 2014. Following a detailed analysis of the records against existing pieces, Peters has suggested 'h' is now for 1761, not 1760-61 as formerly thought.
Garnier, Édouard. La porcelaine tendre de Sèvres, Paris, Maison Quintan, 1891. This déjeuner is illustrated plate XVIII with one cup and saucer only (768C and D-1882).

Materials

Soft-paste porcelain

Subjects depicted

Trophies

Categories

Porcelain; Ceramics

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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