Sèvres coffee cup & saucer, later decorated, 18th & 19th c.
Sèvres coffee cup & saucer, the green ground with rich burnished gilt scrolls, reserving panels of flower sprays tied with yellow ribbons.
Mock Sèvres marks,
the porcelain 18th century,
the decoration 19th century.
An interesting example of authentic Sevres porcelain re-decorated by skilled artists at a later date.
The details that confirm this is genuine Sevres:
-The quality of the painting is excellent and comparable with factory artists.
-There is the remnants of an iron fragment in the rim-hole, indicating it was fired at the Sevres kiln using the their suspension method, where hooks were used to suspend the item in midair for glaze firing- and small oxidised fragments remained in this point of contact.
-The incised ‘repairer’ mark, put there by the person responsible for making the porcelain body, is accurate and is the same on both pieces. We can conclude that the porcelain is original Sevres soft-paste of the 1760-80 period.
The ‘giveaways’ on this example that suggest later decoration start with the mark. First glance it appears an accurate ‘crossed L’s’ official mark, with a painters mark of a musical note 🎶 and date code ‘c’ for early 1750’s.
This is the first cause for alarm; products of this earliest period don’t match the style of this piece.
The second mistake is the painters mark is reversed, a back to front musical note. The correct painters mark is always depicted as a normal note.
Finally, the ‘Sevres’ written beneath the L’s is alarming; while there are instances of this in the 18th century genuine marks, they are later in the century and into the 19th century.
Finally, on closer examination, there is something fundamentally wrong with the entire surface the mark is found on. Beneath the enamels of the mark, on both pieces, there is a band of ‘sanded’ parallel scratches. This indicates a previous market has been physically removed, some glaze added, and after firing to smooth it, the visible mark painted on. This was done at the same time as the excellent enamelled flower groups this piece displays.
In the 19th century, demand for early Sevres far outstripped supply, and workshops in France and England set out to meet this demand by creating substitutes. They favoured genuine Sevres porcelain, of which there was an immense amount of Undecorated ‘blanks’ at the factory to draw on- or plainer pieces to scratch the decoration off & re-decorate with elaborate & expensive designs.
This example reveals the quality they were able to achieve, a very convincing ‘Sevres’ piece, original porcelain but later decorated.
gilt re-touched in places