- Museum number
Toilet Pot, one of a pair; soft-paste porcelain; glazed; cylindrical; slightly domed cover; flattened tapering knop; silver-gilt mount; ornamented with gold in relief, partly enamelled green; on the cover, three female medallion heads in classical style within a strapwork frame, alternating with a small shell-like motif; the lower part is ornamented with three Indian or African warriors in short tunics, one playing a pipe, one dancing with an arrow, the third dancing with a bow; on either side are trees with birds above; two lovers between trees; Cupid and Psyche near trees; marks only on silver-gilt mounts.
- Production date
- 1730-1735 (circa)
Height: 7.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Dawson 1994
Pair with Franks 344.
On stylistic grounds these pots can be dated to around 1730-35. In the absence of any factory marks they are tentatively attributed to the Saint-Cloud factory, but they may well have been made elsewhere, perhaps in one of the small Paris concerns operating at this period, about which we know very little. The decoration, for which the source has not been discovered, was done outside the factory, and has nothing to do with porcelain manufacture.* This is proved by the presence of similar scenes in the same technique on an enamel mustard-pot in a private collection in England (See Dawson, 1990, cited in cat. 15, n.2), and dancers - one with a bow, the other with an arrow - on the cover of a rectangular enamel box. (In a private collection, San Francisco, USA, decorated with gold reliefs and coloured enamels. The mounts appear to be later and are not date-marked.) The making and application of these gold reliefs is likely to have been the work of a member of the Paris guild of ‘paillonneurs’, but as yet no information has come to light about this aspect of production.
Profile heads in the classical style within circular medallions have been noted in an engraving by Jean Bérain (J. de La Gorce, ‘Bérain, dessinateur du Roi Soleil’, Paris, 1986, p. 31).
*This has been demonstrated in the case of Sèvres some 50 years later (see reg. nos 1935,1218.1-2); Le Guay and Parpette were taken on by the royal factory on a contract basis to assist in producing 'jewelled' pieces.
1) Paris, Louvre, inv. OA 2371, cane-handle decorated with figure of flute-player similar to that on British Museum toilet pot, see R. de Plinval de Guillebon, ‘Musée du Louvre, département des objets d'art, Catalogue des Porcelaines françaises’ I, Paris, 1992, no. 1.
2) Paris, Musée des arts décoratifs, inv. D33302, cane-handle.
3) Sèvres, Musée national de Céramique, inv. MNCS 8989, cane-handle (illus. Frégnac, Claude (ed.), ‘Les porcelainiers du XVIIIe siècle français’, Paris, 1964, p. 76).
4) England, private collection, hunting scene in extended form, and exotic figures with bow and arrow and playing a flute (this scene occurs on a snuff- or bonbon-box and cover enamelled green, reg. no. 1929,0418.1, illus. Dawson, 1990, p. 341, figs. 51, 52) with the addition of a stork, a pagoda on a rock and a tree, enamelled red and green.
5) Russia, St Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum, sugar bowl and cover, Indian figure with tambourine running towards Cupid and Psyche on body and medallion heads in strapwork on cover.
6) USA, New York, Metropolitan Museum, toilet pot and cover, inv. 47.117.1.A; sugar bowl and cover, inv. 64.101.35 8b.
Literature: Franks, Sir Augustus Wollaston, ‘Catalogue of a Collection of Continental Porcelain’, London, 1896, no. 344; Chavagnac, comte Xavier de and Grollier, marquis de, ‘Histoire des manufactures françaises de porcelaine’, Paris, 1906, p. 22; A. Dawson, Gold foil decoration on enamel, glass and porcelain: a new look, ‘Burlington Magazine’, Vol. CXXXII, no. 1046, May 1990, pp. 340-41, figs 49, 50.
- Not on display
- Losses of gold and enamel; warrior dancing with an arrow has a damaged centre.
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number