Lot 446
  • 446


30,000 - 50,000 GBP
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  • 39cm., 15⅜in. wide
plat d’entrée or plat d’entrée à groseilles, the center painted with a large spray of fruit and flowers, the moulded border reserved with four cartouches of trailing flowers, gilt to the edge with overlapping leaves and trailing blooms, the footrim with a gilt band, interlaced LL mark in blue enclosing date letter A for 1753-4, painter's mark for Pierre-Joseph Rosset (active as a painter of flowers, landscapes and patterns from 1753-99)


There is a hairline crack from the rim at about 11 o'clock which extends across the border towards the centre (images of damage available on request). A minute rim chip to the underside edge of the rim at about 10 o'clock. Two small shallow chips to underside of footrim at 5 o'clock, probably from the time of manufacture. Some minor areas of wear to the gilt bands and the cartouches. The flutes around the well are slightly worn and there are typical scratches to the glaze. There are some signs of old overpainting to the underside of the dish either side of the crack which may be residue of overpainting which has been removed. The clear glaze to the underside has pooled slightly in the footrim and the border is slightly warped.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

The present dish formed part of a service made for Louis XV, for use at the château de Versailles.  The origin of the commission dates to 1751 and the completed service was delivered in three tranches between 24th December 1753 and 31st December 1755.  It included new forms designed by Duplessis; many of these designs are retained in the archives at Sèvres, some of which are inscribed `Pour le Roy’ and were listed in an inventory dated 1st October 1752. It was also the first large service to use the bleu céleste ground colour; Jean Hellot, director of the Académie des Sciences and the first scientists at Vincennes claims to have invented the ground colour in 1753. His correspondence is also retained in the factories archive (Archives MNS, Carnet Hellot Y 50, p. 59).  In it, Hellot states that this Royal blue was used for his Majesty’s full dinner service.  This archival material demonstrates how designs for an important service were arrived at gradually and utilised the latest techniques, they were intended to show the most up to date and impressive designs and were unlike anything that had been produced before either in Europe of the Far East.  Items from the first delivery were displayed to the public in an exhibition in Paris held by the marchand-mercier, Lazare Duvaux in February 1754 and it is evident from this that the service was held in high esteem.  In a contemporary account recorded by the duc de Croÿ in an entry for 4th February 1754 (Journal inédit de duc de Croÿ (1718-1784), I, pp. 230-231).  The author notes the beauty of this masterpiece and the ambition of the factory to surpass the products of Saxony.

The form of this dish is described in the inventory of designs as “grand plat à groseilles” and is priced at 240 livres, the same cost as a plat à roti of a slightly larger size and differing form.  Undecorated examples of the form are recorded in an inventory of March 1753.  However, plat d’entrée à groseilles do not appear in inventories until January 1755 which would describe pieces made throughout 1754.  It seems likely that the present dish would be one of the eight plats d’entrée delivered in the second part of the service delivered on 31st December 1754 at a cost of 240 livres per unit. 

A significant part of the service was sold by the King to Etienne-François, comte de Stainville-Beaupré (later the duc de Choiseil-Stainville).  The comte de Stainville was between appointments as ambassador to Rome and Austria and would later become Minister for Foreign Affairs.  The sale, recorded by Lazare Duvaux on 5th July 1757, see Courajod, L., Livre-journal de Lazare Duvaux, Paris, 1873, Vol. II, p. 322-323, no. 2819. It does not include pieces which could be described as the present dish and it seems likely that this was included in the service retained by the King.  Additions to the service were ordered by Louis XV and his successor Louis XVI in 1766, 1767, 1771, 1773 and 1779.  Supplements ordered in the 1780s may have been intended for the original service or the portion sold to the duc de Choiseil. 

For an extensive discussion of the service see David Peters, Sèvres plates and services of the 18th century, Little Berkhamstead, 2005, Vol. II, pp. 283-290, nos. 54-1, 54-2 and 55-1.  For a similar dish see Tamara Préaud and Antoine d’Albis, La Porcelaine de Vincennes, Paris, 1991, p. 74, pl. 15.