More about A Soft-Paste Vincennes Porcelain Ewer, 1755, painted by Armand l’aîné and given in 1756 by Madame de Pompadour to the Elector of Cologne
It is without hesitation that we can associate this Ewer with a purchased made by the great dealer Lazare Duvuax from the porcelain factory (for 720 livres before his discount) and his sale to Madame de Pompadour of this piece on 18th March 1756 for 672 livres with the note that the piece was for the Elector of Cologne.
In the factory sales records for the first half of 1756 [Sèvres sales records, 1, 1 January to 20 August 1756, f.134v] it is recorded as ;-
1 Broc Roussel bleu çeleste oiseaux with
1 Jatte bord de relief Id
Then when sold by Lazare Duvaux it is described as ;-
une jatte ovale de porcelaine de Vincennes, bleu-céleste, à cartouches dehors et dedans, peinte à oiseaux, les bords ornés de fleurs en relief, avec le broc peint de même (M. l'Electeur de Cologne)
The latter description points out that the matching basin had flowers moulded in relief along its' rim and was decorated with ground colour and painted reserves on the outer rim as well as to the interior; the exterior was not always lavishly decorated on such a basin. The basin with flowers moulded in relief along the rim known in a private collection, broken across in two parts which explains why they were separated as this ewer has been 'married' to a 19th century replacement basin since it was in the collection of Baron Gustave de Rothschild (1829-1911), Avenue Marigny, Paris, before the start of the 20th century. The original basin is marked in the same way as this ewer. It has the ground colour and painted reserves on the exterior as noted in Lazare Duvaux's day book in March 1756. Most clearly, the details of the gilded frames to the panted reserves have the same scroll and trellis patterns as found on the ewer showing them to be a match.
Rosalind Savill has written of this gift [Pompadour, op. cit. supra, vol. II, p. 539] about Madame de Pompadour's gift of this ewer and basin ;-
She presented it to a new friend and fellow patron of the arts, Clemens August I of Bavaria, who was the last member of the Wittelsbach family to hold the post of Archbishop-Elector of Cologne. he was an ally of Austria and the gift may have been to reassure him that France also intended to join Maria-Theresa.
It was clearly an important moment for France to exercise diplomatic connections as the Seven Years War was looming across Europe.