H. 10 in. (25.4 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.1912ab)
In the 1660s, a factory was established in the town of Saint-Cloud, to the east of Paris, for the production of faience (tin-glazed earthenware). Experiments to produce porcelain may have begun there as early as the 1680s, for by the 1690s the Saint-Cloud factory was also selling soft-paste porcelain, a type of artificial porcelain that possesses many of the characteristics of true porcelain, commonly known as hard-paste.
The earliest products of the Saint-Cloud factory imitated Chinese porcelains in their decoration, which was always executed in cobalt blue painted directly on the ceramic body before the application of the clear, lead-based glaze. Within a few years, however, the factory painters began looking to French prints as inspiration for their decorative schemes. While still employing the underglaze-blue technique, the painters created a style of decoration that was entirely French in character, using both sixteenth- and seventeenth-century French printmakers as sources for the symmetrical scrollwork, foliage, and animals that are typically found on Saint-Cloud porcelain at the turn of the eighteenth century.