4-07-2018 - Sotheby’s Londres

12.000 - 18.000 pounds / SOTHEBY’S - TREASURES 04 JULY 2018 | 4:00 LONDON

Lot 16

Two Sèvres (soft-paste) porcelain compotiers from the Louis XV Lapis service, 1768

compotiers ronds, painted with a central flower bouquet within gilded scrolls on lapis caillouté ground, with a shaped rim edged in gilding, interlaced LL marks in blue, date letter P for 1768, painter’s mark E for Claude Couturier (active as a painter of flowers from 1762-1775, 1783),
Quantity : 2
21.3cm., 8 3/8 in. diameter


Most likely delivered in 1770 to Madame Lair or Simon-Philippe Poirier for King Louis XV ; then King Louis XVI ; The late Major-General Sir Edward Spears, Christie’s London, 5th July 1974, lot 177 (part) ;
Property from the collection of the late Dr. Knight, Christie’s London, 17th November 2009, lot 150 ;
Private collection.


David Peters, Sèvres Plates and Services of the 18th Century, Little Berkhamsted, 2015, Vol. II, pp. 440-441, no. 70-3.


David Peters, ’Les services de porcelaines de Louis XV et Louis XVI’, Versailles et les Tables Royales en Europe, XVIIème - XIXème siècles, exhibition catalogue, Châteaux de Versailles. 1993, p.115 ;
Geoffrey de Bellaigue, French Porcelain in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen, London, 2009, Vol. II, p. 584.


These compotiers are similar to the service presented by King Louis XV in November 1768 and September 1769 to the King Christian VII of Denmark during his visit to France. The service of the King of Denmark included four round compotiers which are still retained with the majority of the service in Rosenborg castle and Christiansborg palace in Copenhagen.1

In the exhibition catalogue Versailles et tables royales en Europe, David Peters has highlighted the existence of a service decorated with fruits and flowers on a lapis caillouté ground in the French royal collection (op. cit., p. 115). This proof is shown in an inventory from Versailles from 1782 mentioning as belonging to the l’ancien fond un service Bleu Lapis et Or, a part of which is described as ‘Porcelaine d’office’ including : 4 compotiers coquille, 4 compotiers ronds, 1 sucrier et 37 assiettes, [4 shell-shaped dishes, 4 round saucer dishes, 1 sugar pot and 37 plates], another part is described as ‘Porcelaine en Magasin’ including : 2 seaux à bouteille, 2 seaux à demi-bouteille, 2 verrières, 9 tasses à glace et 2 jattes à hors d’œuvre, [2 bottle coolers, 2 half-bottle coolers, 2 glass coolers, 9 ice-cream cups, and 2 jattes à hors d’œuvre probably des compotiers ovales, oval dishes] (Archives nationales O1 3510).

In January 1784, the service Bleu Lapis et Or was lent from Versailles, probably to the château de La Muette (Archives nationales O1 3510). The service then returned to Versailles in May 1784 except for the two glass coolers, the four round saucer dishes and three plates. In 1791 and 1792, King Louis XVI, then installed at the Tuileries palace, purchased from Sèvres additions to complete this service described as Beau Bleu, Groupes fleurs or Caillouté et fleurs et fruits. Several porcelains with beau bleu caillouté ground dated for 1791 and 1792 are linked with purchases by Louis XVI, for example a double salt, salière double, dated 1792 kept at Woburn Abbey ; a plate dated 1792 seen at Masterpiece 2017 with John Whitehead, and also a sucrier de Mr le Premier with a lapis ground dated 1769 but with a beau bleu ground replacement cover from 1791 (sold Bonhams, London, 14th June 2000, lot 233). A number of porcelains at Woburn Abbey dating from 1767 and 1770 and decorated with flowers and fruits on gold and lapis caillouté ground may correspond to the service of Louis XV which was completed by his grandson Louis XVI. The Lapis service seems to have been bought by Louis XV from the marchands-mercier Madame Lair or Simon-Philippe Poirier, who each bought a service in 1770 which could correspond. Among the pieces at Woburn Abbey is a round saucer dish from 1768 painted by Claude Couturier. The three other saucer dishes of Louis XV’s lapis ground service, two of which we are presenting here, were still together in the collection of Sir Edward Spears in 1974.

1. See Serge Grandjean and Marcelle Brunet, Les Grands services de Sèvres, exhibition catalogue, Musée National de Céramique, Sèvres, 1951, pp. 29-30, no. 4