The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Possibly gobelet 'couvert' of the first size and soucoupe 'litron' of the second size
  • Covered Cup and Saucer
  • Possibly gobelet 'couvert' of the first size and soucoupe 'litron' of the second size
  • Manufacture de Sèvres
  • Sèvres, France
  • c. 1757
  • Soft-paste porcelain, painted and gilded
  • Cup with cover, Height: 8.8 cm
    Cup without cover, Height: 6.9 cm
    Saucer, Diameter: 13.9 cm
  • Incised mark: A cross within a circle
    Incised mark: 'FR'
    Incised mark: a cross within a circle
  • C366
  • Back State Room
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 many years, like this one, the ‘gobelet couvert et soucoupe’, of which examples are known from 1753 until c. 1780.
    The straight-sided cup, indented at the base, was made with and without handles, often with a slightly domed cover with a flower knop. It was combined with two different styles of saucers: either ‘litron’, with a deep, sloping side (see museum numbers C345-56), or ‘Bouillard’, a plain shallow bowl (museum numbers C357-9). Gobelets couvertes were included in déjeuners (that is, with a tray) or were sold with a sugar bowl or teapot. They were also used for coffee drinking. The cover kept the contents of the cup warm.

    This example is decorated with a rose ground and painted with birds in landscapes. The gilded cartouches framing these scenes are outlined with carmine enamel, a means to help make the gilded decoration stand out from the rose background. With a matching cup and saucer now in the Walters Art Gallery, it may have been bought by Madame Louise, Louis XV’s youngest daughter, at the big annual sale in December 1758.