Potpourri jar, Rouen, Soft-paste porcelain, French, Rouen

Potpourri jar

ca. 1695
French, Rouen
Soft-paste porcelain
Overall (confirmed): 5 x 5 x 5 in. (12.7 x 12.7 x 12.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of R. Thornton Wilson, in memory of Florence Ellsworth Wilson, 1950
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 551
Porcelain was highly prized in seventeenth-century Europe, and the popularity of imported Chinese and Japanese porcelains led to various experiments in France to produce porcelain domestically. The French were skilled at making faience (tin-glazed earthenware), but the ingredients for true or hard-paste porcelain—as produced in Asia—were not known to French potters at this time.

The most successful experiments in producing an artificial porcelain, known as soft-paste, were carried out in small faience factories in Saint-Cloud and Rouen. The Saint-Cloud factory eventually was able to manufacture soft-paste porcelain on a viable, commercial scale, but the production of soft-paste in Rouen remained on a very limited and experimental basis.

This pot pourri is one of the very few surviving examples of Rouen porcelain. None of the porcelain made in Rouen bears a factory mark, so the attribution to Rouen is based on the style of the decoration and on the noticeably bluish cast of the glaze, which appears to be a common characteristic of Rouen porcelain.
Marking: Unmarked
Chavagnac, Xavier Roger Marie, comte de (until 1911; sale, Hotel Drouot, Paris, June 19–21, 1911, no. 4) ; Georges Vandermeersch , Paris (after 1911–before 1948; sold to Dupuy) ; Mme. Helen Dupuy , Paris and New York (until 1948; sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, April 2–3, 1948, no. 356; sold to Gaston Bensimon for $300); [ Gaston Bensimon , 1948–before 1950; sold to Wilson ] ; R. Thornton Wilson , New York (until 1950; to MMA)