Pair of Wine Bottle Coolers (seaux à demi-bouteilles ordinaires)

Object Details


Pair of Wine Bottle Coolers (seaux à demi-bouteilles ordinaires)


Model originally designed in 1753 by Jean-Claude Duplessis père (French, about 1695 - 1774, active Sèvres, France 1745/1748 - 1774)

Gilded by Jean-Jacques Dieu (French, active Sèvres, France 1777 - 1811)

Sèvres Manufactory (French, active 1756 - present)






Hard-paste porcelain; black enamel ground with platinum and gold decoration

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These coolers were designed to hold half-bottles of wine set in ice or cold water and probably once formed part of a large dinner service. With their fanciful chinoiserie scenes of gold and platinum pagodas on a black ground, the wine coolers imitate Chinese lacquer work. In the 1790s, elaborate vessels such as these were mainly purchased by wealthy clients outside of France, since the French Revolution severely reduced the number of patrons able to afford such luxurious objects.

Scholars consider the rich decoration in gold and platinum on these wine coolers to be both rare and interesting. Only in the 1780s did porcelain makers at the Sèvres manufactory succeed in producing this deep blue-black ground by mixing oxides of iron, cobalt, and manganese. In the 1770s and 1780s, the potters had experimented with silver decoration but found that it tarnished with time. Platinum thus became a more popular alternative in the 1790s, and craftsmen used it mainly to decorate objects with black or brown grounds. Artists also applied two colors of gold to these coolers--a yellowish and a more orangish shade--and further varied them by burnishing some areas and leaving others matte.

Related Works

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), p. 184, ill.

Johnson, Hugh, ed. Wine: Celebration and Ceremony, exh. cat. (New York: The Cooper-Hewitt Museum, 1985), p. 97 (.1 only).

Sassoon, Adrian, and Gillian Wilson. Decorative Arts: A Handbook of the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 86, no. 183.

Sassoon, Adrian. Vincennes and Sèvres Porcelain: Catalogue of the Collections (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), pp. 152-57, no. 30.

Bremer-David, Charissa et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), pp. 147-48, no. 244.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 128, no. 256.

Brunel, Georges ed. Pagodes et dragons: exotisme et fantaisie dans l'Europe rococo 1720-1770, exh. cat. (Paris, musée Cernuschi, with Paris musées, 2007), p. 119, fig. 11.