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Gobelet litron et soucoupe: C.17 & A-1961

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Gobelet litron et soucoupe


Factory: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
Painter: Buteux, Charles




Soft-paste porcelain cup and saucer, with a turquoise and mid-blue pointillé ground, painted in enamels, and gilded, with military and musical trophies, and floral sprays in reserves.

Soft-paste porcelain decorated with a pale turquoise and mid-blue pointillé ground, painting in blue, green, yellow, pink, pale purple, brown, grey and dark grey enamels, and gilding. Cylindrical cup with ear-shaped handle. Circular saucer with flat central area and sloping sides. Both pieces have a suspension hole in the footring. Both pieces have a pale turquoise ground with regularly spaced white circles surrounded by blue dots. On the front of the cup there is acircular reserve framed by a gold band tooled with trellis, and painted in polychrome with a military trophy comprising a cornet bound by a pink cord with a tassel, a helmet, fasces, an axe, and spray of laurel (?). On the opposite side, running under the handle is a long, gold-edged rectangular reserve painted with polychrome flowers and foliage. There are bands of gilding round the foot and rim and and lines of gilding down the sides of the handle. The saucer has a circular central reserve, framed by a gold band and painted in polychrome with a posy of flowers. On the sides there are two long rectangular panels, framed by gold bands and painted in polychrome with floral sprays, alternating with two elongated oval panels, framed by gold bands faintly tooled with trellis. One contains a musical trophy comprising a lyre, a sheet of music, an arrow, and a houlette tied with a pink bow, and foliage; the other, a ewer, flaming torch, halberd, staff with a finial in the form of Ceres (?) holding a sheaf of corn and a sickle.The edge is encircled by a gold and.


History note: Uncertain before testator, Louis C.G. Clarke, MA, LL.D., Cambridge

Legal notes

L.C.G. Clarke Bequest, 1960

Place(s) associated

  • Sèvres ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1960) by Clarke, Louis Colville Gray


18th Century, Mid#
Louis XV
Circa 1765 CE - 1770 CE


Charles Buteux, père ainé was employed as a painter and gilder between 1756 and 1782. In the 1760s he became a specialist in painting trophies.

The cup bears a date letter which appears to be an F but 1758 is too early for pointillé decoration, and for Buteux to have developed his mature trophy style.

The gobelet litron was named after a cubic measure, the litron, which was normally made of wood, and was used for dry stuffs, such as corn and peas. Its size in Paris had been defined in 1670 as the equivalent of 9.45 cm high and 10.15 in diameter in pouces and lignes, which was larger than the largest of the porcelain cups.The first size of gobelet litron had been introduced at Vincennes before October 1752 when it was mentioned in an inventory of stock, but was probably being made earlier (records are lacking).The second and third sizes followed in 1753, and the fourth and fifth in 1757. They could be fitted with one of seven different handle forms. A drawing in the archives at Sèvres is dated 19 February 1753 (MNS, R1, liasse 2, dossier 2, No. 6bis) They were supplied singly, singly with a plateau carré, in ’harlequin’ sets, or as part of matching dejeuner. (See Documentation, Préaux and d'Albis, 1991, Savill, 1988, Bellaigue, 2009)

This is a gobelet litron of the second size made at Sèvres which ranges from 6.5 - 7 cm high. The handle is Savill's shape C. The saucer however it a little larger, approximating to the first size from 14.3 to 15.5 cm.

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( blue, green, yellow, pink,pale purple, brown, grey, and dark grey) gold
Saucer Diameter 15 cm Height 3.1 cm
Cup Rim Diameter 6.7 cm
Cup Height 6.8 cm
Cup With Handle Width 9 cm

Materials used in production

presumed lead-glaze Lead-glaze
Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Soft-paste porcelain, moulded, and decorated with pale turquoise ground colour, painting overglaze in blue, green, yellow, pink, pale purple, brown, grey, and dark grey enamels, and gilding

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: interlaced L's enclosing the letter f or possibly another later letter

  • Location: On base of cup
  • Method of creation: Painted in blue enamel
  • Type: Factory mark

Inscription present: an anchor, the left side worn off

  • Location: On base of cup, below factory mark
  • Method of creation: Painted in blue enamel
  • Type: Painter's mark

Inscription present: joined at the tail

  • Text: qf
  • Location: On base of cup by footring
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Incised mark
  • Text: ja or da
  • Location: On base of saucer by footring to left of suspension hole
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Incised mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.17 & A-1961
Primary reference Number: 72474
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 3 September 2020 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) "Gobelet litron et soucoupe" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-13 23:32:42

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