The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Goblet 'litron' et soucoupe of the first size
  • Cup and Saucer
  • Goblet 'litron' et soucoupe of the first size
  • Manufacture de Sèvres
  • Etienne-Henry Le Guay, The Elder (1719 - 1799), Gilder
  • Sèvres, France
  • c. 1778 - 1780
  • Soft-paste porcelain, painted and gilded
  • Cup, Height: 7.6 cm
    Saucer, Diameter: 14.8 cm
  • Factory mark: Interlaced Ls Painted in greyish blue
    Gilder's mark: 'LG' for Entienne-Henry Le Guay Painted in greyish blue
    Incised mark: '6'
    Incised mark: '40'
  • C350
  • Study
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • From the 1760s there was a fashion for collecting differently decorated Sèvres cups and saucers and this set would probably also have been for display rather than use. A precursor of souvenir mugs today, it commemorates the Franco-American alliance of 1778.

    Both pieces are decorated with a 'beau bleu' ground; The grisaille medallion on the cup shows a portrait of Benjamin Franklin and the one on the saucer a trophy of a Native-American head-dress, alongside attributes of France and America.

    Franklin was the American Envoy to the Court of France during the American War of Independence. In 1777 Louis XVI recognised the American cause and received Franklin at Versailles the following year, which led to the rapid spread of his image and him being celebrated as an apostle of liberty. Apart from the cups and saucers, Sèvres also produced small busts of Franklin, and a biscuit portrait medallion which was copied throughout Europe and made his face ‘as well known as that of the moon’.