Chamber Pot (Bourdaloue)

Object Details


Chamber Pot (Bourdaloue)


Chantilly Porcelain Manufactory (French, active about 1725 - about 1792)




Chantilly, France (Place created)


about 1740


Soft-paste porcelain with polychrome enamel decoration


9.8 × 19.7 × 11.7 cm (3 7/8 × 7 3/4 × 4 5/8 in.)

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Oval chamber pots such as this one have been known since the 1700s as bourdaloues. Legend has it that these objects were named after the Jesuit priest Père Louis Bourdaloue, who preached at the court of Louis XIV. Bourdaloue's sermons were apparently so long that the ladies at court asked their maids to supply them with chamber pots so that they would not be forced to leave and miss any of his wisdom. Others guess that Bourdoloue himself needed the vessel during his own sermons as he suffered from the disease hypospadias.

This chamber pot has scrolling walls shaped like snail shells, while the handle with its flat thumb rest is formed and painted to resemble a twig. The painted flowers on the sides of the vessel resemble designs from Japanese porcelain. The Prince de Condé, owner of the Chantilly Manufactory, had a large collection of Japanese ceramics, which frequently inspired the factory's porcelain painters.

Paris: Life & Luxury (April 26, 2011 to January 2, 2012) (45)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), April 26 to August 7, 2011
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, September 18, 2011 to January 2, 2012
Exquisite Everyday: 18th-Century Decorative Arts Objects from the J. Paul Getty Museum (July 29 to October 15, 2016)
  • Pulitzer Arts Foundation (Saint Louis), July 29 to October 15, 2016