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La France as Peace

  • Object:

    Figure

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1750-ca. 1752 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Vincennes porcelain factory (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Soft-paste porcelain, glazed

  • Credit Line:

    Given by J. H. Fitzhenry

  • Museum number:

    C.330-1909

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 139, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case U, shelf 3

The Vincennes porcelain factory had a link to the French crown from its inception as it was established in about 1740 in the semi-abandoned royal fortress of the château de Vincennes to the east of Paris. There, a handful of porcelain specialists devoted themselves to solving the technical challenges of porcelain production as huge sums were paid by wealthy aristocrats for this glassy white substance which, up to then, was mostly imported from East Asia or the Meissen factory in what is now Germany. During the early 1740s the majority of the Vincennes factory's products were probably experimental as the porcelain body was still being perfected and different enamel colours invented. In 1745 however, they secured a royal 'privilège' which granted them the exclusive right to produce porcelain ‘in Meissen style’ in France. As the wording suggests, the factory's earliest productions were indebted to the prestigious Meissen factory. The factory's repertoire quickly evolved however, from the emulation of East Asian or Meissen examples to incorporate the latest styles used in French gilt-bronze, woodcarving and decorative painting. The financial support and patronage of King Louis XV and his mistress, Madame de Pompadour, enabled Vincennes to secure the best technicians, artists, sculptors and designers. Jean-Claude Duplessis (director of models, 1748-74), Jean-Jacques Bachelier (director of decoration, 1751-93), Etienne-Maurice Falconet (director of sculpture, 1757-66), and the court painter François Boucher, all played a central role in the development of this entirely new French art form. By 1756 the factory had outgrown its workshops in the old château and it transferred to specially constructed premises at Sèvres (south-west of Paris). In 1759 the king purchased the factory outright and remarkably the Sèvres porcelain manufactory continues in production to the present day.

This rare glazed figural model, an allegory of France as 'Peace', dates from about 1750 during the Vincennes period of the factory's production. The majority of Vincennes' models were left white as the enamel colours had a tendency to run when fired. The problem was so accute in fact that almost all figures made by the factory from 1751 onwards were left unglazed. These biscuit models soon became popular as they resembled miniature marble sculptures. They continue in production at Sèvres to this day.

Physical description

Figure of la France as Peace, porcelain.

Place of Origin

France (made)

Date

ca. 1750-ca. 1752 (made)

Artist/maker

Vincennes porcelain factory (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Soft-paste porcelain, glazed

Descriptive line

Porcelain figure of la France as Peace, Vincennes porcelain factory, France, about 1750-1752

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

Gwilt, Joanna. Vincennes and Early Sèvres Porcelain from the Belvedere Collection. London, V & A Publishing, 2013. See no. 167, pp. 230-1 for another example of this model, dated c. 1756/7

Production Note

Previously attributed to Mennecy. According to Mme Préaud of the Archives de Sèvres, a drawing of exists of this model, which she and Mme Faÿ-Hallé of the Musée de Sèvres are inclined to attribute to Vincennes (note in register). Exhibited in Porcelaine de Vincennes, Paris 1977, cat. 483.

Materials

Soft paste porcelain

Techniques

Glazed

Subjects depicted

Coronets; Globes; Peace; Fleur de lys; Figures; Mantles; Personification; Women

Categories

Ceramics; Porcelain; Figures & Decorative ceramics

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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