- Cup and Saucer
- Possibly gobelet 'couvert' of the first size and soucoupe 'litron' of the third size
Manufacture de Sèvres
- Sèvres, France
- 1767 (probably with later decoration)
- Soft-paste porcelain, painted and gilded
- Cup, Height: 6.7 cm
Saucer, Diameter: 12.8 cm
- Factory mark: Interlaced Ls enclosing 'O' the date letter for 1767 Painted
Incised mark: 'LF' and 'I'
Incised mark: '3'
- Reserve Vault 3
Images & Media
- 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, and was often produced 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, but is missing in this example.
Both pieces are decorated with a dark blue 'bleu lapis' ground and gilded with birds on branches, and, on the saucer, two rabbits on an uprooted tree with a bird flying overhead. It is most probable that these have been redecorated in the nineteenth century, as gilded rabbits are not a known motif. The 'bleu lapis' ground with only gilded decoration - although very common in the early 1750's - rarely occurs after the factory’s move to Sèvres in 1756 and the lapis lazuli effect is also unusual for 1767.