Friday, September 28, 2007

Sèvres Porcelain

It survived the Revolution, and had a gaudy resurgence during the reign of Napoleon, who patronized the opulent porcelain, just like the kings and queens whom he had replaced. Here is an essay on the history of Sèvres.

Before their untimely deaths, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette patronized the national porcelain. Here are pictures of reproductions of pieces ordered by the king and queen. They had simple taste compared to the revolutionaries who took over the government, as well as the palaces, and the porcelain factories. Share


Anonymous said...

I was just wondering if you know if it's true that the "breast cup" (The Dessert Course has a picture of a copy of it) was molded from Marie Antoinette's breast? It would be interesting to hear what you think about that rumour.

elena maria vidal said...

Hi, Linda! That is an urban legend. Marie-Antoinette was notoriously modest and would never have bared herself in such a way. The laiterie at Rambouillet, with the "breast cup" and other vessels, was supposed to celebrate peasant life and all that was natural, from breast-feeding (which most noblewomen shunned) to the manual labor that went into running a dairy.

The aristocracy had traditionally looked down upon manual labor and peasant life. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette wanted to show that it was good and beautiful and life-giving. The royal dairy was a sort of monument to the way that staples such as cheese and milk were produced.

The dairy at Rambouillet actually belonged to the king. The queen had her own dairy at Petit Trianon.