Two new plates from Pia's Antique Gallery with an interesting Story.
"We proudly present for sale a rare and historical Sevres hand painted hard paste plate with a floral garland border and cameo portrait. The plate is marked for the period at Sevres known as the Consulate years 1801-03 in iron red stencil, and incised CC1. The cameo depicts Lucille in charcoal (gray) against a pearly, slightly marbleized background. The portrait has been attributed to J. M. Degault, who painted cameos at Sevres for many years. The gilder is unknown, but the floral wreath decoration has been attributed to Charles-Eloi Asselin.
The plate has significant historical value because it was produced during the tumultuous years after the French Revolution when Sevres was on the brink of ruin and bankruptcy. This followed the fall of the monarchy of Louis XVI and the ascendancy to the throne of the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Only after the slow recovery of the Empire and the appointment of the brilliant scientist and teacher Alexandre Brongniart as director of Sevres in 1800, did the factory begin to achieve success once again.
An almost exact plate is found at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts with the cameo of Ben Franklin, date 1801-02. The exhibition states that Sevres only made a few plates in this neoclassical style and that only one is now known to exist. The book, "The Sevres Porcelain Manufactory, Alexander Brongniart and the Triumph of Art and Industry, 1800 -1847", by Tamara Preaud, suggests on page 173 that a sales entry was entered June, 18, 1803, for three plates with wreaths and heads in gray. Apparently, a complete service with this decoration was never produced suggesting that these plates were a prototype. The inventory does show that on November 24, 1804, Monsieur de Lucay, Premier Prefet du Palais de Sa Majeste, chose a service for the Chateau de Fontainebleau that was quite similar and described as "service Nankeen ground, low relief figures with a garland of flower." Another delivery of seventy-two similar plates was made to Emperor Napoleon on Demember 5, l804." -Pia's Antique Gallery