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Basin from a ewer and basin set: C.7A-1961

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 26 (Lower Marlay)


Basin from a ewer and basin set


Factory: Vincennes Porcelain Manufactory




Soft-paste porelain decorated with an underglaze blue ground, reserves painted in enamels with flying birds, and gilding

Soft-paste porcelain, moulded, decorated with an underglaze bleu lapis ground, painting in blue, green, yellow, dark pink, red, purple, grey enamels, and gilding. The basin is oval in plan with undulating curved sides and rim, slightly higher at one end than the other. On each side there is a depression to facilitate handling. The middle of the base has been ground down to flatten it, and there is a small suspension hole. nInside there are two circular and two oval reserves, each painted in enamels with two flying birds, two framed by gilt garlands of flowers, and foliage, and two by palms, flowers, and foliage, . In two of the reserves one bird holds a branch in its claws, and in one reserve, one bird holds a branch in its beak. In the centre there is an arrangement of gold flowers and foliage. There is a dentilated gold band round the edge and on the exterior, two sprays of gold flowers on each side. Part of a set with ewer C.7-1961


History note: Acquired before October 1948 by L.C.G. Clarke, MA, Cambridge; bequeathed by him in 1960

Legal notes

L.C.G. Clarke Bequest, 1960

Measurements and weight

Height: 8 cm
Length: 36.2 cm
Width: 23.7 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Vincennes ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1961-04-27) by Clarke, Louis Colville Gray


18th Century, Mid
Louis XV
1753 CE - 1754 CE


This basin was intended to accompany a ewer known as 'pot à la Romaine' in the factory and elsewhere as a 'pot à eau à la Romaine' which was designed by Jeanne-Claude Chambellan Duplessis, see C.7-1961. The set would have been used in the owner's private apartments for washing. The model for the basin has not survived at the factory. Dark blue underglaze grounds were being executed at Vincennes by 1751, and are now usually termed 'bleu lapis'. The very brilliant dark blue ground on this ewer and its basin may be the bleu antique or bleu de M. Gagny which was introduced about October 1752. (See Documentation, Préau and d’Albis). However, the term lapis continued to be used in sales records. The dark blue ground was often combined with bird painting in gold or colours in reserves surrounded by lavish and delicately chased gilding which concealed their edges, and produced a most luxurious and sophisticated effect. The Fitzwilliam’s ewer and basin might have been one of three sets with bleu lapis grounds and polychrome bird decoration sold in 1753 and 1754. Monsieur de Betz bought one set for 300 livres on 26 December 1753. Another was sold to the Parisian marchand-mercier, Lazare Duvaux on 31 December 1753 for 220 livres, and a third was sold to Madame la Marquise de Pompadour by Lazare Duvaux on 23 June 1754. This does not appear to have been the set he bought earlier. His Livre Journal entry does not state whether the birds were gold or coloured, but the price was the same as M. de Betz’s set which had coloured birds. (See Documentation, Roth and Corbeiller).

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of ground colour ( bleu lapis; possibly bleu de M. Gagny) enamels ( blue, green, yellow, dark pink, red, purple, and grey) gilding

Materials used in production

Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Soft-paste porcelain. moulded, and decorated with underglaze bleu lapis ground, painting in blue, green, yellow, dark pink, red, purple, grey enamels, and gilding

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: V.
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Incised mark
  • Text: interlaced Ls enclosing A
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Painted underglaze in dark blue
  • Type: Factory mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.7A-1961
Primary reference Number: 140366
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 5 January 2021 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Basin from a ewer and basin set" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-21 22:11:11

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