The Sèvres seau is from the service acquired by Jeanne (Bécu) Gomard de Vaubernier, Comtesse Du Barry, who was Louis XV's last mistress, until his death on 10 May 1774. The service was ordered in 1770 and noted in the sales records on 29 August 1771 where the decoration was described as ‘petits vases et guirlandes’. Louis XV had given Madame du Barry the château de Louveciennes in 1769 and this service was probably intended for use there. The service comprised 322 pieces of which 36 were seau à verre at a cost of 60 livres each. During the 1770s the use of individual wine-glass coolers became more common as the fashion grew for intimate dinners with less servants in attendance although services often included seau crénelé as well as individual seau à verre.1 A project drawing for the design of the decoration survives, annotated 'Projet d’un service pour être execute à Sève pour Mde du Barry, 1770' and 'à Madame, le Comtesse du Barry en son hotel à Paris'.2 It was the first Sèvres service to include a monogram and neoclassical motifs. The service was still in the possession of Madame du Barry at the time of her execution during the revolution on 8 December 1794. For a full discussion of this service and later Paris porcelain additions, see David Peters, Sèvres Plates and Services of the 18th Century, Little Berkhamsted, 2005, Vol. II, pp. 461-464.
1. Linda Roth and Clare Le Corbeiller, French Eighteenth-Century Porcelain at the Wadsworth Atheneum, The J. Pierpont Morgan Collection, Wadsworth Atheneum, 2000, p. 266, no. 137.
2. This is in the Bibliothèque de l’Institute, Paris, and it is attributed to Augustin de Saint-Aubin, an illustrator and engraver.