This cup and saucer, bearing the date code A representing the year 1754, is a very rare example of Vincennes porcelain decorated with an experimental green ground. Production of green-ground wares did not begin until the date letter D was in use. The factory had only small amounts of green pigment available in the Vincennes period and it probably used these up producing a small number of pieces.
A green-ground bowl with date letter A is illustrated in an article by Antoine d'Albis, 'Vincennes, 1753: Le premier fond vert?', Connaissance des Arts, no. 437/438, July-August 1988, pp. 82-87 and it has the same finely pitched gilt dentil rim as that seen on the present lot and which is typical of Vincennes. The Vincennes firing records (Kiln books) are incomplete and only convey part of the picture, however, the Kiln book for the enamel kiln (that is to say for the final firing) lists in Firing no. 9 an entry for a pot à lait ordinaire and a jatte, both 'fond verd Enf. Coloriés'. This is probably the bowl discussed in d'Albis's article, with evidence pointing to it being fired in 1754 rather than 1753 as originally thought. Page 25 of the Kiln book lists further entries for green-ground wares; Firing no. 9 included a small teaset in 'fond verd oiseaux à terrasse', 2 gobelets à la Reine 1e and soucoupes in 'fond verd fleurs' and 2 gobelets Heberts 1e and soucoupes in 'fond verd fleurs guirlandes'. It would seem very likely that the present cup and saucer is one of these last two. The designation fleurs guirlandes or just guirlandes was commonly used, where cups and saucers were concerned, to denote the wave pattern ground with pendant flower garlands. The reference against the cups and saucers to fond verd is by ditto marks from the notation against the pot à lait. The present lot is thus from a very small group of surviving green ground pieces and one of only two items identified in the records.
Vincent Taillandier was a painter of flowers and ground patterns who was active at Vincennes and Sèvres from 1753 to 1790. A Vincennes bleu cèleste-ground cup and saucer of the same form and decorated with the same pattern is illustrated by Joanna Gwilt, Vincennes and early Sèvres Porcelain from the Belvedere Collection, p. 173, no. 109. Another example, painted by Taillandier, was sold at Christie's in New York, 'Vincennes and Sèvres from a New England Collection', on 5 May 1999, lot 28 and a Sèvres green-ground example was sold in these Rooms on 15 October 1990, lot 25.
We would like to thank David Peters for his assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.