Teapot, Sèvres Manufactory (French, 1740–present), Hard-paste porcelain, silver, ivory, French, Sèvres


Sèvres Manufactory (French, 1740–present)
French, Sèvres
Hard-paste porcelain, silver, ivory
Overall (confirmed): 7 1/4 x 5 1/16 in. (18.4 x 12.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Louis V. Bell Fund and Friends of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Gifts, 2007
Accession Number:
2007.408a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 554
This teapot is one of the more striking and original creations of the Sèvres manufactory from the first half of the nineteenth century, when the factory’s production was marked by constant innovation and a striving for novelty. The decoration reflects the ongoing popularity of chinoiserie, a term used to describe the European fascination with an imagined and exotic Asia. In the eighteenth century objects in the chinoiserie taste were usually decorated with fanciful depictions of life in Asia as Europeans envisioned it. In contrast, this teapot employs and reinterprets motifs perceived to be Asian in origin. The lotus leaves of the handle, the carved ivory grip at the top, the prominent butterfly, and even the yellow ground color are references to Chinese decorative arts, but the manner in which these elements are rendered and combined is entirely European.

The Sèvres archives record that the teapot was made as an individual object rather than as part of a service and that is was sold to the queen of France, Marie-Amélie, who took possession of it in August 1837.

[Jeffrey H. Munger, 2009]
Marking: Marked on underside in blue: [1] Sèvres 32; in gold: [2] M30av; incised on underside: 9.31.12
Queen Marie Amélie (delivered August 21, 1837) ; [ sale, Perrin, Royère, Lajeunesse , November 10, 1991, lot 60 ] ; [ sale, Étude Tajan , June 22, 1999 ] ; [ sale, Sotheby's, Paris , March 29, 2007, lot 123 ] ; [ Dragesco-Cramoisan , until 2007; sold to MMA ]