- Museum number
Figure; 'La Moissonneuse'; soft-paste biscuit porcelain; press-moulded; young girl, whose hair is partly covered by a kerchief, holds a sheaf of corn across her body, on her skirt which she holds up with her left hand; her right hand rests on top of the sheaf; at the back is another sheaf of corn on the rocky base; viewed from the back it is evident that her body bends to the left at the waist; maker's mark.
- Production date
Height: 20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Dawson 1994
1) ‘La porcelaine française de 1673 à 1914, la porcelaine contemoraine de Limoges’, Pavillon de Marsan, Paris, November-December 1929, cat. no. 629, bis, from the Fenaille Collection, incised F; sold Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 12 June 1941, Lot 5.
2) Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, part of dinner service presented to the 4th Duchess of Bedford by Louis XV of France in 1763, incised F, H. 21.6 cm.
3) Sainsbury Collection, sold Sotheby's, 14 March 1967, Lot 35; exh. International Ceramic Fair and Seminar, London, 1985, by Hoff Antiques with companion piece, both incised F.
4) USA, New York, Metropolitan Museum, ‘European Porcelain Special Exhibition’, March-May 1949, cat. no. 159, pl. XXVII, from the French Institute, New York, ex-Chavagnac Collection, sold Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 19-21 June, 1911, glazed white with flesh tints; also illus E. Tilmans, ‘Porcelaines de France’, Paris, 1953, p. 156; sold Christie's, 28 March 1966, Lot 144 (present whereabouts unknown).
5) USA, New York, Christie's, 21 April 1982, Lot 128 (with companion male figure).
6) USA, New York, Christie's, The Elizabeth Parke Firestone Collection, Part I, 21-22 March 1991, Lot 107, incised L.
7) USA, California, Filoli, Woodside, inv. FC 86.23.2, incised with cursive capital B¹, illus. P. Kite, Verdant Mansion, the Splendor of Filoli, ‘Antiques and Fine Art’, September/October 1990, p. 140.
Modelled by Pierre Blondeau after François Boucher in 1752 and inspired by ‘La Vallée de Montmorency’ by Charles-Simeon Favart (1710-92). This play was performed as a pantomime under the title ‘Les Vendanges de Tempé’ in August 1745; in 1752 it took the new title and was transformed into a ballet-pantomime. The figure has a companion piece, ‘Le Moissonneur’, of the same date. As Rosalind Savill pointed out,² Boucher was a designer of costumes and stage-sets from 1737 to 1768 and so came into contact with Favart. As early as 1749 the Sèvres factory owned a Boucher drawing of ‘Le Petit Jardinier’, also made in biscuit. Boucher executed thirteen drawings of children and ‘3 groupes de même’ listed in the factory's 1752 stock list.
Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche (1738-1812), whose initials are incised under the base of the figure, was born in Mons and baptised on 8 October 1738.³ Joining the Sèvres factory in 1757, he was employed as a sculptor between 1757 and 1768. Between 1775 and 1779 he was a modeller and from 1780 until his retirement in 1806 was head of the sculpture workshop. In theory, the figure dates from after 1780; however, further research may show it was made earlier, as its appearance would suggest.
The eighteenth-century plaster mould survives at the factory, where there is also a plaster model of the first size. A terracotta model is in the Musée national de Céramique, Sèvres.
The figure was also made at the Chantilly factory; a version was sold from the Rene Fribourg Collection, Sotheby's, 15 October 1963, Lot 410.
1. The author is grateful to Thomas M. Rogers, Curator of Collections, for providing information about this piece.
2. R. Savill, François Boucher and the Porcelains of Vincennes and Sèvres, ‘Apollo’, March 1982, CXV, no. 241, pp. 162-9.
3. J. Belleudy, Joseph Le Riche, in ‘Bulletin de la Société de I'Histoire de I'art français’, 1924, 1er fascicule, pp. 31-7, and Savill, Rosalind, ‘The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain, London’, London, 1988, III, pp. 384-5.
Bibliography: Bourgeois, Emile and Lechevallier-Chevignard, Georges, ‘Le Biscuit de Sèvres – recuil des modèles de la manufacture de Sèvres au XVIII (18) siècles’, Paris, n.d. (1913), pl. 4, no. 437.
- Not on display
- Edge of skirt chipped, and some ears of corn are damaged at the back; there are a number of firecracks, and the porcelain is discoloured in places.
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Other BM number: FB.36 (Franks reg.no)