Rare set of hard porcelain six soup plates, a melon dish and a navette butter dish, with a blue ground called "beau bleu", the marli decorated with a frieze of foliated and wrapped garlands called "festoons" in gold, the center adorned with a rosette with gold palmettes, the wing edged with a frieze of gold laurel leaves.
Very good condition.
Sèvres Imperial Factory, 1811-1813.
Marks with red stamps whose imperial emblems were erased under Louis XVIII period, marks of placement of the blue ground and various marks of gilders.
Four plates dated 1811, two from 1813, the melon box dated 1811, the navette from 1813.
Plates: D. 23.5 cm - Melonnière: L. 29 cm - Butter dish: L. 26.5 cm.
Entrance service "fond beau bleu frise d'or", called "3rd service of the Emperor", "ordinary service" or "service of Their Majesties", at the Tuileries Palace.
The decor of this service, unpublished, is described in the archives of Sèvres "fond beau bleu, frise d'or" without any other indication which would have been very useful to us in the differentiation of the gold frieze compared to other services with a beau bleu ground, notably the service of Fontainebleau (see the conference Amis de Sèvres, 1st February, 2021, "Les services d'époque Empire à Sèvres, dernières découvertes", by Maxime Charron).
The first order was made on August 24, 1808 (Arch. Cité de la Céramique, Sèvres, Vu1, f° 61 v°) but was delivered on August 20, 1808 at the Tuileries (Vbb2, f° 65 v°). Many restockings then took place every year or even several per year, to replace losses and breakages. For example, January 18, 1812 are delivered to the Tuileries Palace, to replace losses, for the Ordinary Service of the Emperor, in particular: 4 soup plates (at 25 francs per unit) blue ground with gold frieze (Vtt1, f° 168), most certainly our four plates of 1811. One year later, January 18, 1813, for the "3rd service of LL. MM.", to replace losses while traveling, are delivered in particular: 2 butter dishes navettes fond beau bleu frise d'or (Vtt1, f° 170 v°), followed on February 13, 1813, to replace losses during 1812, in particular : 4 soup plates with a beau bleu ground (Vtt1, f° 171).
Our navette butter dish and our two plates dated 1813 could have been part of the restocking of January 17, 1814, to replace losses, for the Tuileries Palace, for the Emperor's service, including: 2 soup plates with a beau bleu ground (25 francs per unit), 2 navette butter dishes with a beau bleu ground (25 francs per unit), 1 salad bowl, etc. (Vtt1, f° 174 v°). Our melon dish does not seem to appear in the archives consulted after 1811, although the restocking lists are not exhaustive and the multiplicity of services present at the Tuileries makes it difficult to read the various deliveries made.
Moreover, one regularly finds with the deliveries of the 3rd service of the Emperor, pieces "à fond variés". It is surely the service known as "à vues diverses" whose plates with beau bleu marli also appear more richly decorated because valued at 80 frs against 25 frs the unit for the "ordinary" service.
As a reminder, our service is the third present on the imperial table at the Tuileries Palace after: 1) the tortoiseshell service with figures imitating bronze, delivered to the Tuileries on 13 and 14 Frimaire of the year 13 (4 and 5 December 1804) to His Majesty the Emperor ; 2) the Olympic service, entered in the manufacture's store on December 31, 1806, then intended to be used "for the celebrations which will take place on the occasion of the marriage of HH the Princess of Wurtemberg", delivered "for the account of the Emperor at the Tuileries Palace" on August 21, 1807, used the next day on the occasion of the marriage of Jerome, brother of Napoleon and King of Westphalia, with Catherine of Wurtemberg, then finally offered as a present to Tsar Alexander I of Russia on February 14, 1808 ; 3) our service, which could be called "festooned" ; 4) the service "Particulier", delivered on March 27, 1810 on behalf of the Emperor at the Tuileries.
Until now unidentified, we only know a series of 4 navette butter dishes from this service, dated 1812, sold at Christie's Monaco, December 4, 1988, lot 30, which also included a pair of soup plates dated 1811, still with the words "Manufacture impériale" erased (lot 31).
- Archives of the Cité de la Céramique, Manufacture de Sèvres.
- French National Archives, 03, 1191.
- Collective work under the dir. of C. Leprince, Napoleon I and Sèvres, The art of porcelain in the service of the Empire, Paris, 2016, p. 271 (service n°117).