Sèvres cup and saucer with a red ground and cameos from a tea service given by Empress Marie-Louise to the comtesse de Montmorency, 1811


Tasse Jasmin Denon et soucoupe, deuxième grandeur

Cup height 6.8 cm, saucer ø 12.4 cm

Printed mark in red: M Imple de Sevres 1811

Purple ground, on the cup a cameo profile figure of a woman holding up a sphere, on the saucer a cameo profile head of a woman with an ivy wreath in her hair. Very rich gilt decoration including an incised frieze of scrolls on a gold ground, and trophies.

Unlikely combinations of bright colours and elaborate gilding are a feature of Empire Sèvres, seen here at its best. The gilt scrolls on the gold ground are particularly fine.

From a small tea service comprising two cups and saucers (tasse Jasmin Denon), a teapot, a milk jug, a sugar bowl and a tray, with decoration described as “fond pourpre, riche décor en or, camées etc” (Entrée au magazin de vente, Vu1, 117vo.). This was part of a large group of pieces delivered on 31 December 1811 to the Empress Marie-Louise at the Tuileries Palace to give as New Year presents (Vbb4, f. 5).

The recipient was the comtesse de Montmorency, who had been named by Napoleon Dame du Palais de l’Impératrice at the time of Marie-Louise’s arrival in France.

See Napoléon I et Sèvres, l’art de la porcelaine au service de l’Empire, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 2016, p. 324.


Laurence Rundell