The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Gobelet 'Calabre' et soucoupe of the first size
  • Cup and saucer
  • Gobelet 'Calabre' et soucoupe of the first size
  • Manufacture de Sèvres
  • Sèvres, France
  • 1765
  • Soft-paste porcelain, painted and gilded
  • Cup, Height: 8.3 cm
    Saucer, Diameter: 15.3 cm
  • Factory mark: Interlaced Ls enclosing 'm' the date letter for 1765 Painted
    Incised mark: 'Jb'
    Incised mark: A reversed 'S'
    Incised mark: '3'
  • C362
  • Back State Room
Commentary
History
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, like this one, the ‘gobelet Calabre’ which was introduced in 1752 and is still being produced today. The cup is fairly tall, tapers at the base and has a simple scroll handle. They were sold either as part of a ‘déjeuner’ of tray, cups, saucers (sometimes), milk jug and sugar bowl or in sets with matching saucers, milk jugs, sugar bowls and teapots. The deep saucer that was paired with it was probably used for cooling liquid from the cup, and as a drinking dish.

    The extraordinary decoration of this cup and saucer led to their being placed in store at the Wallace Collection for much of the twentieth century as Art Nouveau fakes. They are, however, perfectly genuine eighteenth-century pieces, entirely characteristic of the splendidly imaginative design of which the Sèvres factory was capable in its heyday. A teapot with similar decoration is in a private English collection and another one with the unusual blue and turqoise shellwork pattern was sold at Bonhams on 18 June 2014 (lot number 164).