Cup and Saucer
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Ground color by Antoine Capelle, porcelain worker; painted reserve & cameos attributed to Pierre-André Le Guay, porcelain worker
French, Sèvres, 1781
Soft-paste porcelain, brown ground color, polychrome enamel decoration, gold foils, enamels in imitation of jewels, gilding

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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.

Detail Views

Goddess Juno
Goddess Juno


Painted reserve on cup
Painted reserve on cup