The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Gobelet 'litron' et soucoupe of the second size
  • Cup and saucer
  • Gobelet 'litron' et soucoupe of the second size
  • Manufacture de Sèvres
  • Jean-Jacques Pierre (born 1745 - 1746), Painter
    Henry (-François) Vincent (1733 - 1809), Gilder
  • Sèvres, France
  • c. 1794
  • Soft-paste porcelain, painted and gilded
  • Cup, Height: 6.7 cm
    Saucer, Diameter: 13 cm
  • Mark: 'Sevres' Painted
    Mark: 'R.F. (République Française)' Painted
    Painter's mark: 'P7' for Jean-Jacques Pierre Painted
    Gilder's mark: '2000' for Henry-François Vincent Painted in gilding
    Incised mark: '44'
    Incised mark: 'j2' Indistinct
    Incised mark: '44'
  • C356
  • Study
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The European cup for drinking tea evolved gradually during the first half of the eighteenth century, adapted from the Chinese porcelain tea bowls in which tea was originally drunk when it became fashionable in Europe at the end of the seventeenth century. By 1752, the Vincennes manufactory (the early name for Sèvres) was making a wide range of tea wares, many models of the early 1750s remaining in production for the rest of the century. Most cups and saucers could be used for tea, coffee or chocolate, often being sold with matching teapots or, more rarely, coffee pots.
    From the 1760s there was a fashion for collecting differently decorated examples. Examples of this shape of cup and saucer, the 'gobelet litron et soucoupe', which were elaborately decorated or were made in miniature size were probably made for display rather than use. It is a measure of the success of Sèvres that domestic items were considered works of art as soon as they left the factory.
    The manufactory was able to stay open during all the troubles of the French Revolution and the 1790s, although it adapted its artistic production to include more overtly political themes such as the attributes of Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité. Republican attributes were first recorded at Sèvres in 1793. The symbols on this cup and saucer were designed by Nicolas-Pierre Pithou jeune for Sèvres in the same year, which was also the year in which the factory was nationalised on the death of Louis XVI.
    The symbols of revolution are painted on white reserves, against grounds of overglaze blue (beau bleu) and yellow.