This plate is from a service given by Louis XV, King of France, to Queen Marie Caroline, sister of Marie Antoinette and wife of Ferdinand IV, King of Naples and Sicily, on the occasion of the baptism of their second daughter, Princess Luisa Maria Amelia Teresa to whom Louis XV was godfather. Queen Marie Caroline was known as Charlotte-Louise in France. This small service was described in the Sèvres archives simply as 'Un Service de Porcelaines de Seve pour Six Couverts' . It consisted of one hundred and fourteen pieces and was valued at 12,424 livres.1 It was accompanied by thirty-nine white biscuit figures and groups. The king was represented at the baptism on 1 February 1774 by Louis-Charles-Auguste le Tonnelier, baron de Breteuil, Ambassador-Extraordinary to Naples and Sicily.
It is not known when the Marie Caroline service was dispersed but the majority of the service was apparently at Holland House, Kensington, London, in the 19th century and a portion was sold at Christie's in London on 1 July 1898, lots 143-149. A plate was sold at Christie's in London on 7 June 2011, lot 99. Many pieces from this service are in public collections today including a plate in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, C.100-1971. A mustard tray and two salt cellars are illustrated by Linda Roth and Clare Le Corbeiller, French Eighteenth-Century Porcelain at the Wadsworth Atheneum, The J. Pierpont Morgan Collection, Wadsworth Atheneum, 2000, pp. 269-273, nos.139,140. For a full discussion of this service see David Peters, Sèvres Plates and Services of the 18th Century, Little Berkhamsted, 2005, Vol. III, pp. 495-498.
Jacques-François-Louis de Laroche was active at the Sèvres manufactory from 1758 to 1801 and was probably responsible for the painting of the flower baskets, garlands and monogram on this plate. Michel-Barnabé Chauvaux was a gilder at Vincennes and Sèvres from 1752 to 1788.
1. It was also recorded in the Etat des Présents in the same archives (No. 2078, pp. 47v, 48) on 4 December 1773 and again under expenditures on 14 December 1773 described as 'Deliveré par ordre de Mgr le Duc d'aiguillon le Service de Porcelaine ci contre pour être envoié à Naples et remise en present à la Reine des deux Siciles à l'occasion du Baptème de la Jeune Princesse de Naples tenue au nom du Roi par l'ambassadeur de sa Majesté à cette Cour'.