Search results

Start typing

This exhibition is in the past. View our current exhibitions.

Cups and Saucers

Assiette unie©

The gobelet litron, first made in 1752, proved a popular model at Vincennes and Sèvres throughout the eighteenth century. It was produced in five sizes, varying in the style of the decoration and the form of the handles. The cylindrical cup received its name because of its resemblance to the litron, an old wooden cubic measure used to quantify salt, grain, flour and peas.

The jewelled cups and saucers were intended as ornaments for display rather than for practical use because of the fragile nature of the decoration. The technique of jewelling, perfected at Sèvres in the 1770s and 1780s, involved a complicated process of applying globules of enamel on pre-cut gold foils fired onto the porcelain.

The Republican and Masonic emblems symbolising Liberty and Equality, painted on one cup and saucer, illustrate the ability of the former royal manufactory to adapt to the requirements of the newly created Republic of France as part of the efforts made to ensure the factory’s survival after the Revolution. 

The exceptional plate decorated with animals in landscape settings was sold to George IV as part of the Sèvres service commissioned for Louis XVI. The painted scenes were taken from a number of studies of animals by François Desportes (1661–1743) acquired by Louis XVI for use as models by the artists at Sèvres. 

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.