(Tasse) gobelet litron thumbnail 1
(Tasse) gobelet litron thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 139, The Curtain Foundation Gallery

(Tasse) gobelet litron

Cup
1781 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This cup and saucer is of the standard shape made by the Vincennes/Sèvres porcelain factory, however this particular one is very unusual as it commemorates the birth of a special baby, the Dauphin, as the heir to the French throne was always called. Queen Marie-Antoinette gave birth to her first son, Louis Joseph on 22nd October 1781, and the dolphin symbol of the Dauphin can be found on the both the cup and saucer: on the cup the dolphin supports a globe painted with fleurs de lys, white lilies, symbolic of the French royal house together with a ribbon inscribed 'La Voeu de la France' and below the dolphin's chin in gold, the date '22.8.1781'; while on the saucer a pink dolphin lies within the crossed Ls, cipher of King Louis XVI, entwined with a white lily and a pink rose and bud, symbolic of the royal family. Sadly the Dauphin died aged only seven in 1789.

Geoffrey de Bellaigue (see below) has written about the range of special items made by the Sèvres factory at this time. In anticipation of the birth, in September 1781 Jean-Jacques Bachelier, the head of the painter's workshop, was asked to design allegories and symbols appropriate to the long-awaited birth of a royal heir: 'During the period 20 Nov 1781-25 March 1782 a range of cups and a few broth-basins were fired in the enamel-kiln which were painted with dolphins, fleurs-de-lis and allegorical subjects, no doubt based on Bachelier's sketches'. As well as this cup and saucer, there is a broth bowl, cover and stand (ecuelle), with similar decoration in the museum's collection, number 19-1922. These rare items with their special decoration do not appear in the factory's sales records, suggesting they were extraordinary productions, possibly commissioned directly by the crown. It's conceivable that cups and saucers were presented by the King to important courtiers and diplomatic allies to celebrate the Dauphin's birth, but the ultimate consumer of the broth bowls is an interesting point of conjecture. They may well have been intended for the use of Queen Marie-Antoinette herself.

Svend Eriksen and Geoffrey de Bellaigue, Sèvres Porcelain, Vincennes and Sèvres 1740-1800, (London: Faber and Faber, 1987), discussed p. 135, illustrated colour plate O


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Hard-paste porcelain, painted in enamels and gilt
Brief Description
Cup, porcelain painted with emblems including a dolphin in enamels, Sèvres porcelain factory, France, 1781
Physical Description
Cup, hard-paste porcelain, kicked loop handle and acanthus form, decorated with emblems including a dolphin above a ribbon inscribed 'Le Voeu de la France', painted in enamels and with gilt on a maroon ground.
Dimensions
  • Height: 7.9cm
  • Diameter: 7.7cm
  • Maximum width: 10.3cm
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'dd' within interlaced 'L's with red enamel crown (Maker's mark, in red enamel with date letter 'dd' and red enamel crown)
  • 'L' (Painter's mark, in red enamel for Louis-François Lécot)
  • 'f' (incised)
Gallery Label
Gallery 128 Decant 2003 Inscribed 'La Voeu de la France 22.8.1781', commemorating the birth of the Dauphin.(07/06/2004)
Credit line
Bequeathed by John Jones
Object history
Inscribed 'La Voeu de la France 22.8.1781', commemorating the birth of the Dauphin.

Jones Bequest



According to Geoffrey de Bellaigue (see below): 'During the period 20 November 1781 to 25 March 1782 a range of cups and a few broth-basins were fired in the enamel-kiln which were painted with dolphins, fleurs-de-lis and allegorical subjects, no doubt based on Bachelier's sketches. One such cup, a gobelet litron of the largest size, is illustrated in Colour Plate O. It bears the date-letters for 1781 and the mark of the artist, L.-F. Lécot. The cup is painted with a banderole bearing the legend, 'Le Voeu de la France ', and the date, 22 October 1781, is inscribed at the foot of the composition.'
Subject depicted
Summary
This cup and saucer is of the standard shape made by the Vincennes/Sèvres porcelain factory, however this particular one is very unusual as it commemorates the birth of a special baby, the Dauphin, as the heir to the French throne was always called. Queen Marie-Antoinette gave birth to her first son, Louis Joseph on 22nd October 1781, and the dolphin symbol of the Dauphin can be found on the both the cup and saucer: on the cup the dolphin supports a globe painted with fleurs de lys, white lilies, symbolic of the French royal house together with a ribbon inscribed 'La Voeu de la France' and below the dolphin's chin in gold, the date '22.8.1781'; while on the saucer a pink dolphin lies within the crossed Ls, cipher of King Louis XVI, entwined with a white lily and a pink rose and bud, symbolic of the royal family. Sadly the Dauphin died aged only seven in 1789.



Geoffrey de Bellaigue (see below) has written about the range of special items made by the Sèvres factory at this time. In anticipation of the birth, in September 1781 Jean-Jacques Bachelier, the head of the painter's workshop, was asked to design allegories and symbols appropriate to the long-awaited birth of a royal heir: 'During the period 20 Nov 1781-25 March 1782 a range of cups and a few broth-basins were fired in the enamel-kiln which were painted with dolphins, fleurs-de-lis and allegorical subjects, no doubt based on Bachelier's sketches'. As well as this cup and saucer, there is a broth bowl, cover and stand (ecuelle), with similar decoration in the museum's collection, number 19-1922. These rare items with their special decoration do not appear in the factory's sales records, suggesting they were extraordinary productions, possibly commissioned directly by the crown. It's conceivable that cups and saucers were presented by the King to important courtiers and diplomatic allies to celebrate the Dauphin's birth, but the ultimate consumer of the broth bowls is an interesting point of conjecture. They may well have been intended for the use of Queen Marie-Antoinette herself.



Svend Eriksen and Geoffrey de Bellaigue, Sèvres Porcelain, Vincennes and Sèvres 1740-1800, (London: Faber and Faber, 1987), discussed p. 135, illustrated colour plate O
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • King, William. Catalogue of the Jones Collection, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1924. Catalogue no. 167, illustrated, plate 26
  • Svend Eriksen and Geoffrey de Bellaigue, Sèvres Porcelain, Vincennes and Sèvres 1740-1800, (London: Faber and Faber, 1987), discussed (see above) p. 135, illustrated colour plate O
  • Savill, Rosalind. The Wallace Collection: Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain, 3 vols. London: Trustees of the Wallace Collection, 1988. See Vol. III, pp 1043-4 for an account of the painter, gilder and burnisher, Louis-François Lécot. In 1781 he was recorded in the painters' records as working on 'allegorie et chiffre'. Savill matches up this reference to this cup and saucer, 786-1882, in note 10.
  • Garnier, Édouard. La porcelaine tendre de Sèvres, Paris, Maison Quintan, 1891. Illustrated plate 24 together with the vase à dauphin 751-1882.
Collection
Accession Number
786-1882

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJune 7, 2004
Record URL