Plate with imaginary portrait of the tragic poet Moschion
Sèvres Manufactory (French, 1740–present)
Jean-Marie DeGault (active 1808–17)
Diameter: 9 3/8 in. (23.8 cm)
The Charles E. Sampson Memorial Fund, 1989
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 553
The decorators at Sèvres painted cameos in a way that convincingly captures the stones' translucency. This plate was one of seventy-two in the service iconographique grec. One set went to Napoleon's uncle Cardinal Fesch, another to a member of Pope Pius VII's entourage.
Images of cameos proliferated on objects of all sorts during the age of Neoclassicism. Some were copies, some inventions, but all owed their origins to Greco-Roman antiquity. By implication, these adaptations underscored the owner's erudition and sober good taste. The owner might be rich or humble. Pottery such as Wedgwood's, for example, made enough use of cameos to satisfy all comers.
Signature: Signed below portrait, in script: JMDeGault
Inscription: In border surrounding portrait: MOSCHION
Marking: Printed on underside in blue enamel:  Crossed Ls enclosing fleur-de-lis above Sevres (factory mark, 1814-24); pauinted in green on underside:  15.j.[...]; painted on underside in luster and black: No12 (N in luster, o in luster and black, 12 in black); painted on underside in gold:  Script U o; incised under glaze on underside:  Script T (porbably mark of Joseph Thion, 1754–1814, working at Sèvres as tourneur 1771–76, 1783–1813); incised under glaze on underside:  OZ underlined (year code for 1811)
[ Armin B. Allen , New York, until 1989; sold to MMA ]