The Wallace Collection

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'L'amour Falconet' and 'piédestal de l'amour'
  • Statuette
  • 'L'amour Falconet' and 'piédestal de l'amour'
  • Manufacture de Sèvres
  • Étienne Maurice Falconet (1716 - 1791), Designer
    Nicolas-Laurent Petit (1725 - 1814), Painter
  • Sèvres, France
  • 1762 - 1763
  • Sèvres soft-paste porcelain; unglazed biscuit figure; pedestal painted and gilded
  • Total height, Height: 33.3 cm
    Statuette, Height: 23.6 cm
    Pedestal, Height: 11.5 cm
  • Mark: Interlaced L's enclosing 'K', for 1763.
    Painter's mark: 'PT'
  • C493
  • Study
Commentary
History
  • Biscuit wares (in porcelain that has been fired and not glazed) were introduced at Vincennes in 1751, and may have been invented by the designer Jean-Jacques Bachelier. This design, a favourite at Sèvres, was based on a famous sculpture by Etienne-Maurice Falconet, and was actually known as L’amour Falconet. Falconet’s original plaster was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1755, and a marble version, made for Madame de Pompadour, was exhibited in 1757, the year before it was produced in biscuit at Sèvres. Frequently biscuit figures of Cupid were paired with similar figures of Psyche, created by Falconet in 1761 (see C494).
    The pedestal is decorated with an underglaze-blue ground, marine trophies and swags of flowers painted by N.-L. Petit, and gilding. A pedestal was designed at Sevres to go with the biscuit figures, but the one shown here in fact belongs to a different model, probably The Bather, also by Falconet (after Lemoyne), for which the marine references would have been more appropriate.
    This Cupid and its pendant Psyche belonged to the marquis de Courteille (Louis XV’s minister in charge of the factory) and, on his death in 1767, passed to his daughter and thence by descent, appearing in the Paris sale of the Château de Courteille in 1847, when they were sold with the wrong pedestals.