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Cup and saucer: C.15 & A-1948

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 26 (Lower Marlay)


Factory: Tournai Porcelain Factory




Soft-paste porcelain decorated with dark blue border, reserves painted in polychrome with a bird in a landscape, a butterly and an insect, and gilding.

Soft-paste porcelain decorated with dark blue ground colour, painting in pale blue, green, yellow, red, mauve, brown, and black enamels, and gilding. Cylindrical cup with angular handle. Circular saucer with deep sloping sides and flat central area. The cup has a wide dark blue band round the top decorated with a gilt trellis pattern, in hich are reserved an approximately rectangular reserve painted with black long-tailed bird perching on a branch in a landscape, and two smaller circular reserves, one painted with a butterfly, and the other with a beetle. There are bands of gilding round the reserves, the base, above and below the dark blue ground, and down the sides of the handle. The base is painted in black, 'carouge de l'isle St/thomas.' (the t of St raised). The centre of the saucer is painted with a large black bird with a yellow beak standing on the ground amidst plants and a small tree. The sides are decorated en suite with the cup, with three wide oval reserves in which are a butterfly, a ladybird, and another insect. There are bands of gilding round the reserves, and the rim. The back is painted in black, 'merle de france mâle'


History note: Unknown before donor

Legal notes

Given by Louis C.G. Clarke, MA

Place(s) associated

  • Tournai ⪼ Belgium

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1948) by Clarke, Louis Colville Gray


Late 18th century
Circa 1787 CE - Circa 1792 CE


The decoraton of this cup and saucer resembles that of the service for dinner, tea, and coffee, ordered by the duc d’Orléans in 1787 to be decorated ‘en oiseaux de Buffon et or’ which comprised 1593 pieces. The service was dispersed after the death of Philippe-Egalité, and about 600 pieces were purchased by the London dealer, Fogg. These were acquired by George, Prince of Wales and are now at Windsor Castle. Eighty pieces are in the Musées royaux d’Art et d’Historie, Brussels. There are also pieces in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Arras; the Musée royal de Mariemont, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, the Musée national de Céramique, Sèvres, and various private collections. However most of the cups and saucers have gold rinceaux beween the reserves rather than diaper or trellis patterns, and this cup and saucer may not be from that service.. The birds were derived from the comte de Buffon,' L'Histoire naturelle génénerale et particulière, Les oiseaux', Paris, 1785.

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels gold
Saucer Diameter 12 cm Height 2.7 cm
Cup Rim Diameter 5.7 cm
Cup Height 5.8 cm
Cup Handle To Rim Width 7.5 cm

Materials used in production

clear; presumed lead-glaze Lead-glaze
Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Glazing (coating) : Soft-paste porcelain with an overglaze dark blue ground, painting in pale blue, green, yellow, red, mauve, brown, and black enamels, and gilding

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: the t of St is raised

  • Text: carouge de l'isle St/thomas
  • Location: On base of cup
  • Method of creation: Painted
  • Type: Inscription
  • Text: merle de france Mâle
  • Location: On base of saucer
  • Method of creation: Painted
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: possibly a y

  • Text: y
  • Location: On the base of cup
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Mark
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.15 & A-1948
Primary reference Number: 118388
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 4 January 2017 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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