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Gobelet litron et soucoupe: C.59 & A-1961

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Gobelet litron et soucoupe


Factory: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
Painter: Bunel, Marie-Barbe (Uncertain)




Soft-paste porcelain decorated with a bright yellow ground, and white borders painted in enamels with sprays of white flowers and blue flowers in medallions linked by garlands of pink flowers, and gilded.

Soft-paste porcelain decorated with a bright yellow ground, painting in blue, green, yellow, dark pink, dark brown, and black enamels, and gilding. Cylindrical cup with double-curved handle. Circular saucer with flat central area and deep, sloping sides. There is a suspension hole in the footring of the saucer. Both pieces have an opaque, bright yellow ground strewn with small five-petalled flowers and bordered by brown bands, zig-zags and dots. The borders at the top of the cup and round the inside edge of the saucer have a reserved white ground decorated with circular blue medallions, each painted with a spray of white flowers and encircled by a gold band (four on the cup and eight on the saucer). Between each of the medallions there is spray of blue flowers and foliage enclosed in an oval of gold dots, linked to the blue medallions by garlands of red flowers and foliage. There are gold bands on both sides of the borders, dentilated on the interior of the cup and exterior of the saucer. The handle has gold lines down its sides, and a stylised leaf, husks and dots down its back.


History note: Uncertain; acquired before October 1948 by Louis C.G. Clarke, MA, Cambridge; bequeathed by him 1960

Legal notes

Louis C.G. Clarke Bequest

Place(s) associated

  • Sèvres ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

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


18th Century, Late
Louis XVI
Production date: AD 1786


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 cm 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 a few years.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 and soucoupe of the third size with Savill's handle shape B. Yellow grounds were not very common prior to 1775 after which they became increasingly fashionable, especially after 1787.

The painter's mark is not precisely like any listed by Brunet, 1953 (see documentation), but it is fairly close to alternative fig. 18 in Desiré Riocreux's chart, see Jacquemart and Blant, 1862 (in documentation), attributed to Mme Bunel, née Buteux, painter of 'bouquets detachés', who was working at the factory 1778-1816 according to Mlle Brunet, who gave the other mark illustrated by Riocreux MB. Peters, 1997, attributes several mb marks to Mme Bunel.

School or Style

Louis XVI

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( blue, green, yellow, dark pink, dark brown, and black) gold
Saucer Diameter 12.2 cm Height 2.9 cm
Cup Rim Diameter 5.5 cm
Cup Height 5.9 cm
Cup With Handle Width 7.7 cm
Both Pieces

Materials used in production

opaque, bright yellow Ground colour
Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: interlaced L's enclosing ii
  • Location: On base of cup and saucer
  • Method of creation: Painted in blue enamel
  • Type: Factory mark

Inscription present: in script

  • Text: mb
  • Location: On base of cup and saucer below factory mark
  • Method of creation: Painted in blue enamel
  • Type: Painter's mark
  • Text: 47
  • Location: On base of cup
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Incised mark
  • Text: 44
  • Location: On base of cup
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Incised mark
  • Text: 49
  • Location: On base of saucer
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Incised mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.59 & A-1961
Primary reference Number: 75591
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 25 February 2020 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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