A Soft-Paste Sèvres Porcelain Cup and Saucer, circa 1769-70
The cup and saucer (gobelet Litron et soucouope, 2nd size) both have traces of the factory mark in blue but all painted marks scratched away.Incised marks 16 on each.
This cup and saucer is of distinguished size and decoration which in the absence of its factory marks can be placed to 1769 and with the cameos painted by the important Sèvres porcelain painter Jean-Louis Morin (active at Vincennes and Sèvres 1754-87).
One particular Sèvres porcelain cup and saucer given to the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, in 1855 tells us a great deal about the present example [from the Bernal Collection 1980-1855].Whilst it is of a different shape (a gobelet Calabre et soucoupe) it has the same unusual yolky-yellow ground colour with the fond Taillandier pattern of circles and dots.The painted scenes ribbons and wreaths over the ground pattern are of the same scheme.Furthermore the large oval painted reserves imitating cut-stone cameo carvings include the same a female figure to the left of the handles on both cups handled in the same manner.Therefore the date letter q for 1769 on the Victoria & Albert’s piece allows us to date the present example to circa 1769 and the painter’s mark M for Jean-Louis Morin allows a similar attribution to this celebrated porcelain painter.
The Sèvres factory’s surviving archives brings more evidence to the story.These painted cameos were described as ‘médaillons‘.In the records of overtime payments to Sèvres painters in 1769 Morin is recorded as being paid to paint 181 such médaillons amongst other artists also working on the use of this subject.