The Wallace Collection

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Jean-Nicolas Le Bel (1749 - 1816)
Biography
Works of Art

Painter, op. 1765 - 1793.

He worked at Sèvres from November 1765 until 11 June 1793 and is normally confused with Jean-Etienne Le Bel âiné who was in the hard-paste painters’ workshop from 1773 to 1775. Le Bel jeune had trained at Chantilly before coming to Sèvres. Throughout his career he painted flowers and fruit in bouquets, garlands and border patterns. The painters’ records also include trophies, with garlands or mosaic or arabesques, friezes, monograms and birds. He also worked as a gilder, applied gilded grounds and often scraped away ground colours before applying painted decoration. Much of his work was on cups and saucers, many of hard paste with a wide variety of ground colours. He also worked on other tea, service and useful wares and occasionally on vases.

His wife also worked at the factory as a flower painter. In 1793 whilst retouching pieces which, since the regicide, had begun to flake, he was denounced for Royalist sympathies and forced to leave the factory. In 1816, soon after the restoration of the monarchy, he attempted to persuade the Sèvres factory to re-employ him or to raise his pension, but his application was unsuccessful.