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Sugar bowl

Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory

Category

Ceramics

Date

1770

Materials

soft-paste porcelain, polychrome enamels, gold

Measurements

110 x 150 x 115 mm

Place of origin

Sèvres

Order this image

Collection

Knole, Kent

NT 129394.1.3

Summary

An oval sugar bowl, part of a set with cover and stand from a Sèvres dessert service. A white ground, with blue ribbon and pink and yellow floral decoration, with gold rim.

Full description

Almost as soon as the Treaty of Paris was signed in February 1762, ending the Seven Years’ War between France and England, British Francophiles and diplomats flocked to Paris. For a small privileged, aristocratic circle, the purchase of a Sèvres porcelain table services was obligatory. For example, several bespoke services were ordered by Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond (1735–1806), of Goodwood, West Sussex, when ambassador to the court of Louis XV in 1765–6; he visited the Sèvres manufactory itself to place his order, accompanied by his wife and Horace Walpole. However, it was not necessary to visit Sèvres, as services could be ordered in Paris at the manufactory’s own depot on rue de la Monnaie, or through the dealers known as marchands-merciers. It was also possible to buy services sight-unseen through agents, such as the resident English banker Sir John Lambert, 2nd Baronet (1690–1772) or his son Sir John Lambert, 3rd Baronet (1728–99). The Lambert family, including their wives, acted as procurators, purchasing table services directly from Sèvres, selecting patterns, handling payments, arranging transportation and even providing cash advances for other purchases. Within months of inheriting Knole in 1769, John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset (1745–99), was in Paris. In the second half of 1770, he purchased an expensively decorated 68-piece service, which now includes thirty-three plates, twelve fruit dishes, two covered sugar or cream basins with stands (sucrier ovale à compartiments), fourteen ice-cream or custard cups (tasse à glace), and two stands on pedestals for the ice cups (soucoupes à pieds). The pattern, identified in the factory records as ‘rubans bleu celeste et guirlandes colorées’, has a central motif of a rose spray and is bordered with a sinuous, shaded turquoise (bleu celéste) ribbon edged with gold entwined with a polychrome floral garland. The service was apparently ordered through the Parisian marchand gantier-parfumeur Jean Dulac (1704–86), whose shop, at the sign of the Berceau d’or (Golden Cradle), was on rue Saint-Honoré, where many of the merchants favoured by English ‘milords’ were based. He was a frequent buyer at Sèvres and popular with English tourists, including Horace Walpole. The Duke may have seen the dessert service in the same pattern ordered for Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle (1748–1825), of Castle Howard, Yorkshire, who lived in Paris between 1770 and 1773, purchased for him by ‘M. le chevalier Lambert’. A third service in this pattern, but with slight variations, was also ordered through the Lamberts by the 23-year-old ‘Milord D’Egremont’, George O’Brien Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont (1751–1837), of Petworth, West Sussex (NT), while on his Grand Tour in 1774–5. His first order, for which a rare receipt survives, dated 10 September 1774, was placed by the young Earl directly with the manufactory; it was a hurriedly assembled set of dessert wares and soup-plates in varied patterns. On 22 May 1775, George III imposed a duty on imported china, as an attempt to curtail such imports and favour British manufacturers. The Knole service is displayed in the ballroom, where it was described in 1906 by Lionel Sackville West in his 'Knole House, its State Rooms, Pictures and Antiquities', the fifth edition of a guidebook first published in 1858: ‘The case in the bow window contains some remarkable specimens of Vincennes and Sevres china decorated by Chavaux, Evans, Ledoux, and Le Guay. They were the gift of Napoleon the Great to Lord Whitworth, 2nd husband of the 3rd Duchess of Dorset.’ Text adapted from Patricia F. Ferguson, Ceramics: 400 Years of British Collecting in 100 Masterpieces, Philip Wilson Publishers, 2016.

Marks and inscriptions

Interlaced double L, the factory mark, enclosing the date-letter 'R' for 1770, and various painter's marks in blue enamel

Makers and roles

Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory , porcelain manufacturer

References

Ferguson 2016: Patricia F. Ferguson, Ceramics: 400 Years of British Collecting in 100 Masterpieces, Philip Wilson Publishers, 2016, pp. 126-7

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