In January 1784, Marie-Antoinette commissioned from Sèvres a sumptuous dinner service for her use at Versailles. However, upon its completion in May of that year, it was given instead by Louis XVI to Gustav III as a diplomatic gift commemorating the Swedish king's visit to France. Not to be long denied, Marie-Antoinette received her own service, in the exact same pattern and design and of the same composition plus an additional 24 large oval and round platters, on 26 August 1784. Five years later, a third service in the same pattern, described in the factory's records as '..décoration riche en couleurs et riche en or ...de la reine' was commissioned by Marie-Antoinette's sister-in-law, the comtesse d'Artois.
The present plate is from this third service. Noted in the factory Sales Registers as 'pour Versailles' this would indicate, together with the high cost and quality of the service in comparision to earlier services purchased, that it was for the use of the comte and comtesse at their Versailles apartments. It was composed of 228 pieces including assiettes at 33 livres each. However, it would have seen little use as it was delivered only three weeks before the comte and comtesse d'Artois left Versailles for exile in Graz at the insistence of the count's elder brother, King Louis XVI. The comtesse died there in 1805. Her husband returned to France in 1814 as regent for his older surviving brother, Louis XVIII, ruling himself from 1824-1830 as Charles X.
For a detailed discussion of the service, of its relation to those made for Marie-Antoinette and Gustave III, and of the current whereabouts of other components of the service, see David Peters, Sèvres Plates and Services of the 18th Century, Little Berkhamsted, 2005, Vol. IV, pp. 879-881, no. 89-3.
Jean-Jacques Pierre was a painter and gilder specialising in flowers and patterns at Sèvres from 1763 to 1800. Boileau was a painter (and a gilder in May 1783 only) who was recorded working at the manufactory between 1783 and 1789.