For the Sévres porcelain factory, the years of the French Revolution were difficult ones. The majority of the aristocratic clientele that had traditionally purchased its products were either killed or driven into exile, and the demand for luxury products such as porcelain was much diminished in the ruinous economy created by the Revolution. Despite these challenges, however, the Sévres factory man aged to survive, and some of its most original products date from this period. This ewer and basin reflect several stylistic currents at the forefront of fashion in the last decade of the eighteenth century. The spare, elegant lines of both the ewer and basin embody the austerity of the most up-to-date Neoclassical taste, and the contemporary fas cination with hardstones can be seen in the imitation porphyry surfaces that decorate the exterior of the basin and the bottom half of the ewer. Lapis lazuli, marble, and porphyry were among the surfaces imitated by the painters at Sévres; the complex speckled pat terns and the deep purple hue of porphyry must have been especially difficult to achieve, for this type of decoration is rare even on expensive objects such as this ewer and basin.