Marie-Thérèse de Savoie, Comtesse d’Artois (1756-1805), Versailles ;
The following two seaux come from the service à frise riche, also called service décoration riche en Couleurs et Riche en or, delivered on 27th June 1789 to Marie-Thérèse, Comtesse d’Artois, daughter of Vittorio Amedeo III (1726-1796) King of Sardinia (1773-1796) ; wife of Charles-Philippe, Comte d’Artois (1757-1836) and thus sister-in-law of Queen Marie-Antoinette.
The marriage of Marie-Thérèse de Savoie and the Comte d’Artois took place at the Château de Versailles on 16th November 1773. It was one of a series of Franco-Savoyard dynastic marriages which took place over the course of eight years and followed the earlier marriages of her cousin Princess Marie Thérèse Louise (1749-1792) who married Louis Alexandre (1747-1768), Prince de Lamballe in 1767 ; and her elder sister Marie Joséphine and Louis Stanislas (1755-1824), Comte de Provence in 1771. Following her marriage, in 1775 her eldest brother Charles Emmanuel (the future king of Sardinia) married Marie Clotilde of France (granddaughter of Louis XV and sister of Comte d’Artois, Comte de Provence and the new King Louis XVI).
The sales register of the Manufacture de Sèvres specifies that the set was destined for Versailles. In the same register it is named ’service n°B’, with a reference to the album of plate drawings still preserved in the archives of the Manufacture de Sèvres in which the plate of this decoration is annotated ’n°B’.
The pattern riche en Couleurs et Riche en or was chosen in February 1784 by Marie-Antoinette for her own service. However it was offered in June of that year to Gustav III, King of Sweden as a diplomatic gift. The Sèvres factory then produced a second service with the same decoration for the Queen which was delivered to her in August 1784.
An important ensemble of pieces from the services of Queen Marie-Antoinette, King Gustav III of Sweden and the Comtesse d’Artois was sold at Sotheby’s New York, ’Service de la Reine’, 18th May 1996, lot 1-12, which included four seaux from the Comtesse d’Artois service (fig. 1). Another important part of the service, now preserved at Versailles, was sold at Hôtel Drouot, Paris, Oger Dumont, 15th December, 1993, lot 108.
The Comtesse d’Artois’s service included twenty-four seaux à verre, priced at 54 livres each. Eight of them were painted by Cyprien-Julien Hirel de Choisy. For a discussion of these services, see the catalogue of the Marie-Antoinette exhibition, Paris, Grand Palais, 2008, pp. 228-236, and David Peters, Sèvres Plates and Services of the 18th Century, Little Berkhamsted, 2015, Vol. IV, pp. 897-899, no. 89-3.