The incised JB monogram is for Jean-Jacques Bachelier, director of the atelier de sculpture at Vincennes and Sèvres 1751-1757 and again 1760-1773.
In 1760, Jean-Baptiste II Lemoyne modeled the portrait of the king on which the present biscuit is based. In December of that year, two examples were supplied to Versailles, one for Louis XV himself and the other for his dear friend Madame de Pompadour. Factory records note the delivery of two examples on 24 June 1761 to Monsieur Lemoyne, presumably in gratitude to the sculptor of his loan of the original sculpture used to develop the model necessary for its production in porcelain. The bust then went into general production, with the last examples recorded in 1770.
Lemoyne's plaster for this portrait is no longer extant, nor are any examples in bronze or marble. Thus, only the Sèvres biscuit busts portray the monarch as a distinguished 50 year-old. Although a fair number were produced in the 18th century, one can now only account for six of these biscuit portraits, the fragility of the medium and the ravages of the French Revolution having taken their tole:
Museée national de Céramique, Sèvres (Estate of Maurice Fenaille, sold at auction in Paris, 12 June 1941, lot 52 and now on a modern socle).
Musée Lambinet, Versailles.
Waddeson Manor, Buckinghamshire (The Estate of Elizabeth Parke Firestone; Christie's, New York, 21-22 March 1991, lot 155).
An example with Georges Lefebvre et Fils, Paris, 1996-1997.
A second from the Estate of Maurice Fenaille, lot 94, and possibly the present example.