The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
'L'amour Falconet'; 'piédestal la baigneuse'
  • Cupid and Psyche on pedestals
  • 'L'amour Falconet'; 'piédestal la baigneuse'
  • Manufacture de Sèvres
  • Étienne Maurice Falconet (1716 - 1791), Designer
    Nicolas-Laurent Petit (1725 - 1814), Painter
  • Sèvres, France
  • 1763
  • Sèvres soft-paste biscuit porcelain; pedestal painted and gilded
  • Cupid, C493, Height: 23.6 cm
    Pedestal, C493, Height: 11.5 cm
    Psyche, C494, Height: 23.8 cm
    Pedestal, C494, Height: 11.8 cm
  • Factory mark: Interlaced L's enclosing 'K', the date letter for 1763.
    Painter's mark: 'PT' for Nicolas Laurent Petit
  • C493-4
  • Study
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • 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. The cupid figure, a favourite at Sèvres, was based on a famous sculpture by Etienne-Maurice Falconet, 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, one year before it was produced in biscuit at Sèvres. Like the example at the Wallace Collection, the figure was frequently paired with similar figures of Psyche, created by Falconet in 1761.
    Their pedestals are 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.
    The two figurines 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.