Diameter: 26.400 cm
Bequeathed by Sir Bernard Eckstein, Bt.
Room 46: Europe 1400-1800
Porcelain dessert plate
Sèvres factory, Sèvres, France, AD 1778
Part of a dinner service of the Empress Catherine II 'the Great' of Russia (1729-1796)
This soft-paste porcelain plate formed part of
an extensive dinner- and dessert-service for sixty people, which
consisted in total of 800 pieces. The service took three years to
make, and was sent to Russia in 1779, the final cost being 331,317
livres. It is among the
most well-documented services produced by the factory, with a
record of the design and estimates for each item. The service was
especially designed for the Empress, and adopts a classical style.
The mythological scenes depicted on this plate are: 'Pan leading his herd of cattle and sheep; Aesculapius and a centaur'; and 'Hercules with the Erymanthian boar'. The cameo heads, which represent classical deities, were transfer-printed onto the plate, and then filled in with colour by hand. The richly gilt and tooled scrolls are based on the decoration of the Theatre of Marcellus in Rome. The turquoise colour of the central well and the band around the rim is known as 'bleu céleste'.
A. Dawson, A catalogue of French porcelai, revised paperback edition (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)