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Gobelet litron et soucoupe: MAR.C.35 & A-1912

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 26 (Lower Marlay)


Gobelet litron et soucoupe


Factory: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory




Soft-paste porcelain cup and saucer, decorated with a bleu céleste ground, reserves painted in polychrome enamels with floral sprays, and gilding

Soft-paste porcelain decorated with a bleu céleste ground, painting in blue, green, yellow, pink, red, pale mauve, and grey enamels, and gilding. The cup is cylindrical with an ear-shaped scroll handle. The saucer is circular with flat central area and sloping sides. Both pieces have a suspension hole in the rootrings. The cup has a bleu céleste ground with an elongated oval reserve on the front framed by a gold band, tooled alternately with panels of criss-crosses and striations, and painted in polychrome with a floral spray. There is a band of gilding round the foot, a dentilated band round the lip, and lines down the sides of the handle. The saucer has a bleu céleste ground on the sides, and a circular reserve in the centre,framed by a similarly tooled gold band, and painted in polychrome with a different floral spray. The rim is encircled by a dentilated gold band.


History note: Uncertain before C.B. Marlay (1831-1912) , St Katherine's Lodge, Regent's Park, London

Legal notes

C.B. Marlay Bequest

Place(s) associated

  • Sèvres ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1912) by Marlay, Charles Brinsley


18th Century, Mid#
Louis XV
Production date: AD 1770 : Both pieces bear the date letter for 1770


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 earlier.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 1991, Saville, 1988, Bellaigue 2009). This is a gobelet litron and saucer of the third size, with Savill's handle C. Bleu céleste was an overglaze ground colour introduced in 1753. It was was often combined with flower painting in the reserves.

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( blue, green, yellow, pink, red, pale mauve, and grey)
Decoraiton composed of gold
Saucer Diameter 12.1 cm Height 3 cm
Cup Rim Diameter 5.6 cm
Cup Height 5.9 cm
Cup Including Handle Width 8 cm

Materials used in production

Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Soft-paste porcelain decorated with a bleu celeste ground, painting in blue, green, yellow, pink, red, pale mauve, and grey enamels, and gilding.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: interlaced L's enclosing R with below nq

  • Location: On the bases of cup and saucer
  • Method of creation: In pale purple enamel
  • Type: Factory mark
  • Text: nq
  • Location: On base of cup and saucer below the factory mark
  • Method of creation: Painted in pale purple enamel
  • Type: Painter's mark

Inscription present: script capital DP

  • Text: o and DP
  • Location: On the base of cup
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Incised mark

Inscription present: a rectangle with two horizontal lines dividing the shape into four triangles

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

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: MAR.C.35 & A-1912
Primary reference Number: 82590
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 20 January 2021 Last processed: Thursday 3 August 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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