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A SEVRES PORCELAIN BLEU CELESTE 'OEIL DE PERDRIX' ORNITHOLOGICAL PART DESSERT SERVICE
A SEVRES PORCELAIN BLEU CELESTE 'OEIL DE PERDRIX' ORNITHOLOGICAL PART DESSERT SERVICE
A SEVRES PORCELAIN BLEU CELESTE 'OEIL DE PERDRIX' ORNITHOLOGICAL PART DESSERT SERVICE
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A SEVRES PORCELAIN BLEU CELESTE 'OEIL DE PERDRIX' ORNITHOLOGICAL PART DESSERT SERVICE
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A SEVRES PORCELAIN BLEU CELESTE 'OEIL DE PERDRIX' ORNITHOLOGICAL PART DESSERT SERVICE

CIRCA 1782-86, BLUE INTERLACED L'S MARKS, MOST ENCLOSING DATE LETTER EE, HH OR II, VARIOUS PAINTER'S MARKS, MOST WITH GILDER'S MARKS FOR VINCENT PERE, GIRARD, OR LA FRANCE

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A SEVRES PORCELAIN BLEU CELESTE 'OEIL DE PERDRIX' ORNITHOLOGICAL PART DESSERT SERVICE
CIRCA 1782-86, BLUE INTERLACED L'S MARKS, MOST ENCLOSING DATE LETTER EE, HH OR II, VARIOUS PAINTER'S MARKS, MOST WITH GILDER'S MARKS FOR VINCENT PERE, GIRARD, OR LA FRANCE
Based on images found in The Natural History of Birds by the Comte de Buffon, each painted with a bird reserved within a gilt medallion, the bleu celéste oeil de perdix border punctuated with similar reserves, all the birds identified in French on the reverse, comprising:
A large punch bowl (jatte à punch), the interior painted with four small birds
Two variant mortiers (mortier)
Two bottle coolers (seau à demi-bouteille)
A pair of two-handled ice-pails, covers and liners (seau à glace), the covers with circles of oeil de perdrix decoration to the undersides
Two monteiths, the interiors painted with flower sprays (seau crénelé)
An oval liqueur-bottle cooler (seau ovale)
Two sugar-bowls and covers on fixed stands (sucrier de M. le Premier)
Two double jam pots and covers on fixed stands (plateau à deux pots de confiture)
Two triple jam-pots on fixed stands (plateau à trois pots de confiture)
Four shell-shape dishes (compotier coquille)
Four shaped-oval dishes (compotier ovale)
Four shaped-square dishes (compotier carré)
Four circular dishes (compotier rond)
Twenty-four dinner plates (assiettes)
Eleven dessert plates (assiettes à dessert)
12 ¾ in. (32.3 cm.) diameter, the punch bowl
Provenance
Ordered by Louis-Philippe de Bourbon, duc de Chartres, for the wife of Nathaniel Parker Forth, British Envoy to France.
Alfred de Rothschild, Halton House, Buckinghamshire, by 1918.
Thence by descent.
Acquired from Segoura, Paris, 1990.
Literature
M. Hall, "The Chartres Forth Service, Philippe Egalité's Lavish Gift", Apollo Magazine, June, 1986.

Condition Report

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Lot Essay

Nathaniel Parker-Forth (1744-1809) was a British diplomat and espionage agent in the late 18th century. He was sent to France at the start of the American revolution in 1776, where he successfully integrated himself into the court of Versailles, becoming intimate friends with the Duke of Chartres. A notorious Anglophile, Chartres was perhaps better known as the duc d’Orleans after the death of his father as and as Citoyen Egalité after the Revolution, though this did not ward off the guillotine in 1793. When not in France, the Parker-Forths could often be found living in the London home of the duke, and they made themselves useful by purchasing racehorses for Chartres and assisting his surrogate daughters and mistress. Likely as thanks for the social aid given to his near and dear, Chartres gifted the first tranche of this service to Parker-Forth’s common-law wife, Dorothea Child, in 1782.
The ordering and production of this service, one of the last major Sèvres services not in a permanent collection, is extremely well-documented. Ordered by 2 April 1782, the first part of the service was delivered on 30 September of that year, “à M. le Duc de Chartres, Service fond bleu céleste pointillé oiseux d’apres M. de Buffon” and included “12 compotiers / 2 beurriers / 2 seaux à glace / Jatte à punch et mortier” at a cost of 1,835 livres. It is interesting to note that the records here have a mistake, as two sucriers were sent instead of beurriers, likely due to a change in the original order.
The next delivery, sent directly to “Milord Forth", did not take place until 20 March 1786. It included “24 assiettes / 4 compotiers / 2 plateux à deux pots /2 id à trois pots / 2 seaux à demi bouteilles / 2 id crénnelés / 1 mortier à jatte à punch / 1 seau ovale / 3 gobelet” at a price of 3,190 livres.
The final delivery was in January of 1787 and included “12 assiettes à dessert” and tea and coffee wares which have since become separated from the service. It is rather remarkable that, besides these tea wares and one dessert plate (presumably broken), that the service remains completely intact. See D. Peters, Sevres Plates and Services of the 18th Century, Little Berkhamsted, 2005, vol. IV, p.767-9.
The birds on the service, about 300 specimens, some of which are repeated, are all based on engravings by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, sometimes in reverse, and frequently with modifications to the landscape setting. Several of the birds also occur on the Auckland and Lefebvre services. The grosse mésange charbonnière occurs on a sauceboat with a green ground in the Musée Nissim de Camondo, illustrated by T. Préaud, Sèvres, Des origins à nos jours, Paris, 1978, fig. 282. A large service, also formerly in the Rothschild collection, with green oeil-de-perdrix sold Christie’s, 30 June 1975, lot 85 and subsequently in the Elinor Dorrance Ingersoll sale, Christie’s, New York, 11 November 1977, lot 26, has several ornithological specimens in common with the present lot. The faisan de la Guiane, which appears on a terrine du Plessis is on a plate in the present service. The pie gueche huppé du Canada on a plate of 1787 in the green service appears on one of the assiettes à dessert on the present lot.

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