A Soft-Paste Sèvres Porcelain Covered Ointment Jar, circa 1763-65
This pot à pomade à ornaments, 2nd size, is very special for both its’ shape and decoration but is unmarked.
This shape was produced from about 1763 to form part of a toilet service, with other matching Sèvres objects such as brush handles and patch boxes.The surviving 1763 set in the Wallace Collection is fully documented (Rosalind Savill, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain, vol. II, pp. 719-727).
Pomade pots were used for hair grease or face creams, while the pomade itself, as noted in Diderot’s Encyclopédie of 1765, “was made from apples and goat’s fat, mixed with lemon juice, white wine, almond oil, and perfumes” (la graisse de chevreau, des pommes de court-pendu…).
Most other pomade pots produced at Sèvres are of a simple cylindrical shape.This form is delicately moulded and the acanthus leaves are picked out in red, blue and gold.The base is unglazed.
Apart from the Wallace Collection examples, there is a pair in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and another which was shown at the French porcelain exhibition in Paris in 1929 (see below).
Provenance: Mrs Worth sale, Paris, 17-19 March 1927, lot 204; private collection, France.
This object is visible in a photograph of the display of Sèvres at the exhibition La Porcelaine Française de 1673 à 1914, held at the Pavillon de Marsan at the Louvre in 1929, but we have not found it in the catalogue.
Only 6 are known to survive and are listed by Rosalind Savill in the Wallace catalogue volume II pages 719-727.