Vincennes, Sèvres, Royal porcelain factories in the 18th century
The productions of the Sèvres factory were, in the 18th century, a piece of French history and the culmination of long research. Royal factory, it is here that the first hard French porcelains appear. Particularly collected, the most beautiful pieces are rare on the public auction market. Before settling in Sèvres and becoming a royal factory, the factory was established in Vincennes "in the courtyard of the superintendence of the buildings of the said castle, which once served as food for the mouth" around 1740. It is truly 1745 the factory knows its first letters of nobility under the aegis of Machault who has the clever idea of using the goldsmith Duplessis to adapt certain forms to porcelain. In its early days, the Vincennes factory set itself to compete with Saxony porcelain, although it only produced a soft paste. The production is very much inspired by "Saxon-style" landscapes, paintings by Watteau and Boucher, but also oriental scenes. The manufacturing stands out for its specialty: colored backgrounds.
In 1756, the factory was transferred to Sèvres. Its success was then due to the production of pieces with a lapis blue or celestial blue background marbled in gold. Prestigious tableware including that of Louis XVI with a royal blue background, or the Rohan service for Catherine II, the Duplessis, Becauseval vases, the Pompadour urns and the cookies adorn the fireplaces, tables and display cases. Arriving in Sèvre, the factory becomes "royal porcelain factory". In 1759, Louis XV became its full owner, surely under the influence of Madame de Pompadour. In 1768, we finally discovered kaolin, necessary for the manufacture of hard porcelain, in France. From 1770, Sèvres markets its first pieces. Duplessis then developed bronze mounts for porcelain. When he died in 1783, the talented Thomire succeeded him. From this collaboration between the manufacture and the bronzier, we retain the pendulum with vestals carrying on a stretcher the altar of the sacred fire delivered in 1788 for Marie-Antoinette's bathroom in the Tuileries. Cooperation with the Sèvres factory is increasing, as is the case with Poirier, a haberdasher who orders porcelain plates to decorate his furniture. These plaques are found on furniture such as Carlin’s chest of drawers for Madame du Barry or the extraordinary BVRB chest of drawers. Still active to this day, the productions of the later Sèvres factory will be the subject of another article. In the meantime, come and discover Sèvres porcelain in our auctions.