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
  • 1758 - 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
  • The painted decoration of cherubs and trophies allegorical of the Sense of Smell and connected specifically with burning liquid perfume to emit a sweet-scented vapour, is a clue to the complex function of this strange piece. 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 the egg would have perched, and as the rising steam enveloped the egg it would have been lightly cooked. 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.