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Sèvres Sauceboat From le Comte d'Aranda Service

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Dates 1786
9.50cm high (3.74 inches high)
23.50cm wide (9.25 inches wide)
19.00cm deep (7.48 inches deep)
Medium Porcelain
Origin France
Description A very rare Sèvres saucière from D’ARANDA SERVICE – ‘JJ’ (1786) and ‘Y’ for (E-F BOUILLAT)

The sauciere derives from a service delivered in 1787 to the Affaires Etrangères as a diplomatic gift to Don Pedro-Pablo Abarca de Bolea Ximinez de Urréa, conde d’Aranda (y de Castelflorida), distinguished ambassador of Spain to France 12.9.1773 – 23.9.1787 and former President of the council in Spain. The conde d’Aranda was an Aragonese nobility and had been as President of Council, the principal adviser of Charles III of Spain for several years; considerable biographical detail on d’Aranda is available, including in a book entitled ‘King Charles III of Spain’. In 1773, he resigned and was despatched to France as ambassador, where he maintained alliance between France and Spain.

The Aragonese nobleman began his career as a soldier, distinguishing himself in campaigns across Southern and Central Europe. Like many from a similar background he was drawn to the diplomatic service. He came to the attention of Charles III on his accession to the Spanish throne and was taken into favour, occupying a number of important state and military roles. Aranda is probably best known as a member of the Enlightenment and a reformer. He restored order and brought stability to Spain after the Esquilache Riots. Following the flight of Charles III from Madrid after the Motin de Esquilache, he claimed the population of Madrid who had rioted over the wearing of ‘European’ dress; persuading the guilds of Madrid to adopt a more modern dress. A firm but popular minister, he had a great capacity for hard work; he was also a plain speaker, a trait which led to his posting to Paris. On his return from France he briefly became Prime Minister during the reign of Carlos IV, but his sympathy for the French Revolution and his increasingly difficult nature led to his fall from grace. Following his removal from office, and a brief period of imprisonment, he faced the threat of trial before the Inquisition shortly before his death at Epila.

For full discussion of the service see David Peters, Sèvres Plates and Services of the 18th Century.

***The Esquilache Riots (Motín de Esquilache) occurred in March 1766 during the rule of Charles III of Spain. Caused mostly by the growing discontent in Madrid about the rising costs of bread and other staples, they were sparked off by a series of measures regarding Spaniards' apparel that had been enacted by Leopoldo de Gregorio, Marqués de Esquilache, a Neapolitan minister whom Charles favoured.

The service was amongst the most expensive ever produced by the Sèvres factory in the 18th century, excluding the high prices applying in the 1750’s and was exceeded only by the Louis XVI, Catherine II and Arabesque Masson services in price. The d’Aranda service included 172 ordinary plates @ 72 livres, which was twice the normal price for a ground colour plate. The service contained 4 saucières and plateau, each sauceboat and tray unit costing 288 livres. Two of the sauceboats and trays were passed to Boileau on 4.7.1786 for decoration and the other two to Bouillat on 12.8.1786; the sauceboat in question clearly derives from the latter pair and the date letters ‘JJ’ signify 1786. Three of the sauceboats are recorded in the Kiln Books on 17.6.1787 and it is likely that the very elaborate gilding occupied a considerable period of time and was the responsibility of the better gilders. Two of the sauceboats in the Kiln Books entry have the name Levé alongside.
Condition There is a very tiny chip restored at the terminal of one section of the handle and a hairline in one section of the split handle has been consolidated.
Literature For references to the service see: Davillier: ‘Les Porcelaines de Sèvres de Madame du Barry’, (1870), p43; and Bottineau: ‘Quelque Aspects du Gòut pour la “Porcelaine de France” au XVIIIe Siècle’ in Antologia di Belle Arti, No.29-30, (1986), pp.72,73.
Provenance English Private Collection