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
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • In 1761, the sculptor and designer Étienne-Maurice Falconet (op. 1757-66) created a pendant for the popular statuette of Cupid, also known as L’amour Falconet which was based on his famous sculpture of 1755. The young girl is Cupid’s beloved, Psyche, and her figure has been designed to engage with her her partner who should be placed to her left.
    The figures were usually placed on pedestals with inscriptions celebrating the all-conquering power of love (see C492). Here, they are decorated with marine trophies by N.-L. Petit which suggests that they originally belonged to different statuettes, probably 'The Bather', also by Falconet.
    The figures are in unglazed biscuit porcelain and therefore have a matte, marble-like finish. Introduced at Vincennes in 1751, such small, decorative biscuit sculptures were often used as the centrepiece on an elaborate dinner table where they replaced less durable sugar sculptures.

    Both statuettes 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 Château de Courteille sale of 1847, when they were sold with the wrong pedestals.