Cup and Saucer (gobelet litron et soucoupe deuxième grandeur)

Object Details


Cup and Saucer (gobelet litron et soucoupe deuxième grandeur)


Ground color painted by Antoine Capelle (French, active 1745 - 1800)
Painted reserve and cameos attributed to Pierre-André Le Guay (French, active 1772 - 1818)
Gilded by Etienne-Henri Le Guay (French, 1719/1720 - about 1799)
enamel jeweling by Philippe Parpette (French, active 1755 - 1757, 1773 - 1806)
Sèvres Manufactory (French, 1756 - present)




Sèvres, France (Place Created)




Soft-paste porcelain; brown ground color (? merde d'oie); polychrome enamel decoration; enamels in imitation of jewels; gilding and gold foils

Object Number:



7 × 9.4 cm (2 3/4 × 3 11/16 in.)

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Such an elaborately ornamented cup and saucer was intended for display rather than use. Its heavily decorated surface combined various complicated techniques: jeweling, painted cameos, and painted scenes. The expensive technique known as jeweling, using stamped gold foils set with colored enamels to imitate pearls and precious jewels in red, yellow, orange, and green, was used at the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory for only five years, between 1780 and 1785.

On the sides of the cup and saucer, slightly domed oval plaques of porcelain have been attached, imitating stone cameos with profiles of classical busts. The painted reserves show scenes from the sacrifice of Cupid. All these decorative elements are set in a deep brown ground color--a novelty at Sèvres at this date--evocatively named merde d'oie, literally "goose droppings."

These objects were gilded by Étienne-Henri Le Guay and jeweled by Philippe Parpette.

Related Works
Carvers and Collectors: The Lasting Allure of Ancient Gems (March 19 to September 7, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa (Malibu), March 19 to September 7, 2009

Sassoon, Adrian. "Two Acquisitions of Sèvres Porcelain." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 10 (1982), pp. 87-90, ill.

Wilson, Gillian. Selections from the Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983), pp. 80-81, no. 40.

"Some Acquisitions (1981-82) in the Department of Decorative Arts, The J. Paul Getty Museum." The Burlington Magazine 125, no. 962 (May 1983), p. 323, no. 109, ill.

Sassoon, Adrian. "Sèvres: Luxury for the Court." In Techniques of the World's Great Masters of Pottery and Ceramics. Hugo Morley-Fletcher, ed. (Oxford, 1984), pp. 52-57, ill.

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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), p. 144, no. 238.

Kate, Elizabeth L. et al. Themes and Foundations of Art (St. Paul, 1995), p. 24, ill.

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. 125, no. 249.

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