Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory (established 1756)
Porcelain and gilt
36 mm (H); 138 mm (Dia)
Place of origin
SèvresOrder this image
Powis Castle and Garden, Powys (Accredited Museum)
On show at
Saucer, part of a collection of 12 hard and soft paste cups and saucers, painted with polychrome decoration in different colours, Sevres 1776-1788. Cup and saucer (gobelet at soucoupe 'litron'). Blue ground (blue lapis) with polychrome reserves of pink flowers on a grassy bank, gilt borders. Marks 'LL' interlaced and with 'BB' for 1779, mark 'L' possibly for Denis Leve (op.1754-93, 1795-1805, painter) and Mark of Boulanger, pere (op.1754-84, gilder). See 'Treasures from India' catalogue pg.141.
In hopes of establishing a trade relationship with France, the Mysore embassy visited Sèvres in 1788 and received dozens of custom pieces as gifts. Certain designs, including porcelain spittoons and hookahs, do not survive, but among those that did is this composite set of twelve specially ordered cups and saucers, each painted in a distinct floral pattern. The manufactory made certain that its decoration was culturally sensitive: notes in Sèvres’s archives stipulate that the sultan be given wares ‘with flowers, without either human or animal figures’ in keeping with the Islamic prohibition against human images. The set did not remain in Mysore long; following the plundering of Tipu Sultan’s palace in 1799, it was acquired by Lord and Lady Clive and taken by them to Powis Castle in Wales. Text adapted from Visitors to Versailles: From Louis XIV to the French Revolution (exh. cat.), New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018, p. 176.
Set formed part of the presents sent to Tipu Sultan by Louis XVI in return for the gifts to the French crown, brought by three ambassadors from Mysore in 1788. The records of the Manufactures Royales refer to the procelain 'a fluers, sans figures d'hommes ni animaux'. This may have been in deference to the Muslim religion of Tipu's court. (Bibliography - Brunet, M. 1961 'Incidences de l'ambassade de Tippu-Saib sur la porcelain de Sevres', Cahiers de la ceramique, No.24 1961). Brought to Powis Castle from Walcot Hall in 1930. Accepted by HM Treasury on 21st March, 1963 in lieu of tax and conveyed to National Trust ownership in 1992.
Makers and roles
Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory (established 1756) , potters