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Cùvette à fleurs Verdun: C.35-1961

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Cùvette à fleurs Verdun


Maker: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
Painter: Cornaille, Antoine-Toussaint




Soft-paste porcelain, decorated with a green ground, and reserves painted in enamels with scenes of sailors, ships, flowers and birds, and gilded.

Soft-paste porcelain, moulded, and decorated on the outside with a green ground, painting in blue, green, yellowish-green, yellow, pink, pale purple, red, brown, grey, and black enamels, and gildin. The elongated, lobed oval vase stands on a low foot, and has a slightly concave back and a bowed front. The rim is curved and rises at either end to form handles, moulded from half way up the sides with acanthus leaves. The glaze on the interior has areas of blue and grey speckling. There are two suspension holes in the footring. The ground is bluish-green with an oval reserve on the front and back framed by wide bands of gilding tooled with short lines crossed at intervals by crossed ribbons, and flanked by rectangular vertical panels filled by four vertical rows of gold dotted circles. The reserve on the curved side is painted in polychrome enamels with a harbour scene featuring two sailors leaning on a barrel beside a fire, and behind them three others working on the rigging of a ship. The shore on the right is backed by high cliffs, and on the left, the sea extends to the horizon. The reserve on the back is painted with a spray of flowers with a flying bird on each side The handles are white with touches of gilding on the moulded leaves. There is a band of gilding round the foot and a dentilated band round the rim.


History note: Robert John, Lord Carrington, Whitehall, London, before March 1864; on his death in 1868 inherited by Charles Robert, Lord Carrington, from 1912 Marquess of Lincolnshire; probably sold Christie's, 5 December 1928, Catalogue of Old English and French Furniture, Decorative Objects, the Property of the Most Hon. The Marquess of Lincolnshire, p. 7, lot 40. Purchased by Louis C.G. Clarke from Mallett & Sons before October, 1948; Louis C.G. Collection; bequeathed by Louis C.G. Clarke, 1960.

Legal notes

L.C.G. Clarke Bequest, 1960

Measurements and weight

Height: 11.3 cm
Length: 24.5 cm
Width: 11.4 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Sèvres ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

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


18th Century, third quarter#
Louis XV
Production date: dated AD 1767 : date letter for 1767, but this may have been added later with the decoration probably in the 19th century


This flower vase known as a 'caisse à fleurs Verdun' was named after Jean-François Verdun de Monchiroux, a share-holder in in both the Charles Adam and Eloi Brichard companies. It was introduced in three sizes in 1754, but the second and third sizes were not produced until 1759. This example is of the third size which ranged from height 10 to 11.3 cm and length 23.7 to 24.4 cm. The moulds and models for three sizes were mentioned in the work of 1754 in the inventory of January 1755 (MNS, Inventaire de 1755 I 7, pp. 6, 8), A design survives which shows outlines of two sizes of the plan, and three sizes of the elevation (MNS R.1, liasse 3, dossier 1, fol. 3). The drawing was illustrated by Rosalind Savill in her 'Catalogue of the Wallace Collection '(see Documention). She provided an extensive list of examples of the various sizes, including under the third size the Fitzwilliam’s, and examples in the Frick Collection, New York, the British Museum, London, the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, and the Louvre, Paris. This example is a genuine piece of Sèvres soft paste, and bears an incised mark which also appears one of a pair of caisse à fleurs at Waddesdon Manor, and on two of a set of three cuvettes à tombeau, in the Wadsworth Atheneum (1917.1047 and 1917.1049), It also occurs on a milk jug of c. 1756-60 in the Fitzwilliam’s collection (C.43-1961). But although the vase bears the musical quaver note mark of Cornaille, a specialist flower painter, the quality and design of the floral panel is very poor, and the painted decoration and gilding must have been executed outside the factory, probably in the early 19th century. The quay scene might have been by Morin or one of the other paintings painting harbour scenes but the colouring is not typical, and its quality does not compare well with the quay scenes on Sèvres vases in the Royal Collection (see Documentation). Another point indicating later decoration is that on both sides the oval reserves overlap the vertical moulding on either side of them, which was not normal practice, although their gilded frames sometimes did so. The decoration must have been executed before 1864 when the vase was recorded as no. 15 in an inventory and valuation ceramics in the possession of Lord Carrington at 8 Whitehall, London. During the late 18th and early 19th century the Manufacture Royale at Sèvres sold large quantities of soft-paste porcelain ‘seconds’, both white (rebut blanc), and partially decorated which were decorated outside the factory in Paris and elsewhere. Revealing discussions of this practice are given by Savill (1988) and Bellaigue (2009), see Documentation.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( blue, green, yellowish-green, yellow, pink, pale purple, red, brown, grey, and black) ground colour ( green) gold

Materials used in production

Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Soft-paste porcelain, moulded, glazed, and decorated on the outside with a green ground, painting in blue, green, yellowish-green, yellow, pink, pale purple, red, brown, grey, and black enamels, and gilding

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: interlaced L's enclosing O
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Painted in manganese-purple enamel
  • Type: Factory mark

Inscription present: a quaver

  • Location: On base, at one side of factory mark
  • Method of creation: Painted in violet enamel
  • Type: Painter's mark

Inscription present: vertical line with a circle at the top, and running through shape

  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Incised mark

Inscription present: rectangular discoloured white paper label

  • Text: From the collections of/Lord Willoughby D'Eresbyof/Marquess of Lincolnshire
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Inscribed in black ink
  • Type: Label
  • Text: SEVRES (printed) Date/1767/PtR. CORNAILE
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Printed in black and hand-written in black ink
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: small rectangular buff paper label

  • Text: 39
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Printed
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.35-1961
Primary reference Number: 74645
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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