The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Possibly pot pourri 'à l'esprit de vin' or veilleuse
  • Perfume Burner and Egg Steamer
  • Possibly pot pourri 'à l'esprit de vin' or veilleuse
  • Manufacture de Sèvres
  • Sèvres, France
  • 1759
  • Soft-paste porcelain and gilt-metal, painted and gilded
  • Object size: 22.6 x 10.7 cm
    Dish, Length: 8.9 cm
  • Factory mark: Interlaced Ls enclosing 'F' the date letter for 1758-1759
    Incised mark: A scrolling 'M'
  • C466
  • Back State Room
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This curious object consists of four separate pieces. The baluster-shaped pedestal has an opening on the side to contain a small dish and it supports a hollow octagonal middle section on top of which sits a pierced cover.
    As often with Sèvres porcelain, the painted and sculpted decoation gives a clue to the function of the object. The cherubs and trophies allegorical of the Sense of Smell and connected specifically with burning liquid perfume indicate that it could have been used as a perfume burner. Missing metal fittings would have allowed liquid perfume to be heated over oil and a wick in the little dish. Alternatively, as suggested by the hen and her chicks on the top, the fittings would have been filled with water over which an egg would have perched, lightly cooked by the rising steam. This piece would have been both ingeniously useful and a luxurious toy in the bedroom or boudoir of someone who was chronically sick like Madame de Pompadour.