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Sèvres Tray (Plateau de déjeuner Hébert)

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Dates Circa 1788
Medium Porcelain
Origin France
Description Large Sèvres tray plateau de déjeuner Hébert - painted with an elaborate arabesque pattern in a bright and vivid palette.

Date letters LL? for 1788. Other marks are indistinguishable.

The decoration on this déjeuner is not unlike the the central panel of a gathered fabric roundel from the famous Sèvres Arabesque Service. This motif is also found on Savonnerie carpets.

The tray is clearly influenced by the Arabesque service, commissioned in 1783 by Louis XVI. The service was incomplete ten years later when the king was executed during the revolution. Two years after the revolution, the French government presented the service to the Minister of the King of Prussia, Karl August Freiherr von Hardenberg, who successfully negotiated peace between France and Prussia in 1795.

This service appears to take its main inspiration from Nero's Golden House (Domus Aurea) and other sites which were being excavated at the time whose decoration was characterised by scrolling arabesque and grotesques. Similarly, at this time, several other books were being published in Italy mainly due to the exploration of Pompeii and Herculaneum. One such tome was a five volume book entitled, The Prodromo delle Antichità di Ercolano (Preface to the Antiquities of Herculaneum). Volume 7, the penultimate volume, published 1779 dealt with all the paintings of Herculaneum and region, and were well engraved and described.

There is certainly some correlation between the famous mosaic wall at Herculaneum and the central panel of this Sèvres déjeuner.


John Whitehead, French Porcelain Society Journal Volume III, 2007, The Sèvres 'arabesque' service and the Vatican Loggia engravings (for discussion on this pattern)

David Peters, SÈVRES PLATES AND SERVICES of the 18th century V, 95-6, p. 1107-1118 for information on this service.

32cm Wide x 25cm Deep