A Soft-Paste Sèvres Porcelain Liqueur Decanter Cooler made for Madame du Barry, 1771

With the factory mark in blue and partial date-letter S for 1771 adjacent to the painter’s mark B.n for Nicolas Bulidon (active at Sèvres 1763-92).

The dinner service from which this piece comes was made for Madame du  Barry and has decoration described in the Sèvres archives as of ‘petits vases et guirlandes‘.  There were four of them in this service costing 120 livres each.

The design of the decorative scheme is attributed to Augustin de Saint-Aubin survives in the Bibliothèque de l’Institut, Paris annotated ‘Projet d’un service pour être exécuté pour Mde du Barry, 1770’ [Ms 2057].  This is the first service bearing the owner’s monogram made at Sèvres, and also the first to feature neo-classical vases.  Such provision of a design from a Paris-based artist is very unusual indeed.  The Comtesse du Barry, mistress of Louis XV towards the end of his reign, had a variety of Sèvres services but this one bearing her initials has been associated with her through the 19th century before the Sèvres archives allowed identification of other porcelain in her collection in the mid-20th century.

The service was delivered to Madame du Barry on 29 August 1771 and was probably used for the inaugural reception which she gave for Louis XV in her new pavillon at the Château of Louveciennes in September of that year.  

As David Peters has noted, this dinner service is mentioned in her posthumous inventory dated for 24th August 1794 as ‘Service fond blanc à guirlandes et petits Vases avec la Chiffre DB’ following her execution.  So, she kept it in use for the twenty years from its creation to the end of her life.  

It seems that two of these liqueur decanter coolers of Madame du Barry’s were sold from the Earl of Lonsdale’s collection (along with a huge amount more of this service) at Christie’s, London, 13-18th June 1887.  Two of them, perhaps, but not necessarily from the Lonsdale group, were sold at Christie’s, London, 30th October 1947.

Height 13cm
Width 17cm
Depth 13cm


£ 20,000


£ $