A Pair of Soft-Paste Sèvres Porcelain Wine Decanter Coolers, perhaps from the Duchess of Manchester’s Service, 1776-83

One with the factory mark in blue and traces of a date-letter, painter’s mark y for Edme-François Bouillat, gilder’s mark B for Jean-Pierre Boulanger.  The other with very faint indecipherable mark. 

This pattern of decoration was produced by the factory for servicewares from 1776 to 1783, and made up into four services.  Only two of these services included pieces of this size and shape, seaux à bouteilles. 

There was one one pair of seaux à bouteilles costing 192 livres each in the service purchased in 1781 by Jacques Billet, a Parisian marchand-orfèvre, on behalf of an unknown client.  [Peters 81-3]

There were four pairs of seaux à bouteilles also costing 192 livres each in the service of this pattern given by Louis XVI, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Duchess of Manchester in 1783.  This was on the occasion of the signature by the Duke of Manchester in Paris of the treaty which ended the American War of Independence.  [Peters 83-7]

While it is possible to identify many of the pieces in the Manchester service by comparing kiln book and artists’ ledger entries with the marks on the pieces themselves, this does not work for all of them as the artists’ ledgers only start in 1777, a year after the beginning of the production of this pattern.  It would appear that some or all of the seaux were produced in that year.  

The Duchess of Manchester sold her Sèvres dinner service in early 1802 to the Prince of Wales (the future King George IV) and most of it remains in the Royal Collection.  The four seaux à bouteille were included in this sale, and appear in an inventory of 1826.  However they are no longer in the Royal Collection today, and were not listed there by 1907 when Sir Guy Laking published his catalogue of the Sèvres Porcelain in the Royal Collection.

Two other seaux of this pattern and size, indeed the only other examples known, were sold by Adrian Sassoon in 2002 to a private collection in the USA.  One of that pair bears the date-letter y for 1776, as does the only surviving smaller example of this model in the Royal Collection, one of the four seaux à demi-bouteilles in the Manchester Service’s original delivery.

Height 18.8cm
Diameter 20.5cm


Charles John Dickins, owner of Dickins & Jones the drapery firm in Regent Street, London. His sale, Christie's, 4 March 1908, lot 80, illustrated. The catalogue description indicates that they are "similar to the service in the Royal Collection". Private collection, Germany Adrian Sassoon, London, 2010 Private collection, London, 2011-24

Price on request