The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Théière 'Calabre'
  • Teapot and Cover
  • Théière 'Calabre'
  • Manufacture de Vincennes
  • Vincennes, France
  • 1754
  • Soft-paste porcelain, gilded
  • Height: 12.5 cm
  • Factory mark: Interlaced Ls enclosing 'A' the date letter for 1754 Ls in underlgaze blue, 'A' in overglaze blue
    Incised mark: '3'
  • C378
  • Back State Room
Images & Media
  • Imported from the Far East, tea was a costly and highly fashionable beverage in Europe in the eighteenth century. The wares designed to serve it were no less luxurious and Vincennes/Sèvres produced wide range from the early 1750s.
    This model was introduced in 1752. It was the most common teapot made at the manufactory, and remained in production until the 1780s. Like many early models at Vincennes, it was named after a shareholder of the manufactory, in this case Pierre Calabre. Given that such pots could come in a set with several cups, they seem surprisingly small. This may be because they held a very strong brew of cold tea which was diluted in the cup with hot water from separate jug. This would have been safer for the soft-paste porcelain which was less heat resistant than the hard-paste porcelain products of China, Japan and the German factories.
    The combination of dark blue ‘bleu lapis’ ground, and gilded birds in cartouches was very popular during the early 1750s.The baroque forms of the cartouches may have been inspired by late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century French faience, and only briefly appear at Vincennes before being superseded by rococo motifs.