This plate comes from a service made for Napoleon I that was delivered to Cháteau de Fontainbleau in October 1809, shortly before the Emperor arrived for a one month stay. The service contained amongst various shapes, 180 plates. Its delivery coincides with an important period in Napoleonic history, the signing of the Treaty of Vienna on 14 October 1809, which brought about the end of Napoleon's Austrian campaign and in which France imposed harsh peace terms on the defeated Austria. By 16 October Napoleon had left Schönbrunn Palace for Paris, arriving at Fontainbleau on 26 October 1809. For an illustration of another example and a discussion of this service see Samuel Wittwer et al., Raffinesse & Eleganz, Königliche Porzellane des frühen 19. Jahrhunderts aus der Twinight Collection New York, Munich, 2007, pp. 254-255, cat. no. 64.
Emmerich Joseph von Dalberg (1773-1833) was a German diplomat who acquired French citizenship in the Napoleonic era and held senior government positions during the Bourbon Restoration. He began his diplomatic career in the Viennese court and then after the Treaty of Lunéville (1801) between the French Republic and Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor, he was accredited to Paris as minister of the Margrave of Baden. He negotiated the marriage between Charles, Grand Duke of Baden, and Princess Stéphanie de Beauharnais, niece of the Empress Josephine and during this period became a close friend of Talleyrand, Napoleon's chief diplomatic aide. He entered the French service in 1809 and was made a duke and a privy councillor by the Emperor in 1810. In 1814, as a member of Talleyrand's provisional government, he accompanied Talleyrand to the Congress of Vienna and in 1815 he was made a Minister of State and a Peer of France by Louis XVIII. In 1816 he was appointed French ambassador in Turin. Towards the end of the Restoration he retired to Schloss Herrnsheim, near Worms in Bavaria, where he died on 27 April 1833. Given the relationship between von Dalberg and Talleyrand and his close ties with the Napoleonic government it is possible that this plate was a diplomatic gift to the duke while he was in the service of Napoleon. His grandson, Lord John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834-1902), who inherited this plate, along with Schloss Herrnsheim was an English Catholic liberal historian, politician, and writer. Schloss Herrnsheim was sold by Lord Acton to Baron Cornelius Wilhelm von Heyl zu Herrnsheim in around 1883, together with some of the contents, including the present lot. The Baron was a local industrialist and politician and the third generation owner of the family leatherworks in the town of Worms. Schloss Herrnsheim was sold to the city of Worms in around 1957 and the Sèvres plate retained by the family.