The decoration on the present pair of coolers is similar to that executed at Sèvres on a service presented by Louis XVI on 12 June 1786 in honor of the visit of the archduke and duchess, under their alias of the comte et comtesse de Nellembourg. Archduke Ferdinand, Marie-Antoinette's older brother, married Maria-Beatrice d'Este, daughter of Ercole III, duke of Modena. Upon the abdication of his father-in-law in 1803, he then became duke of Modena, Reggio, Mirandola, and Breisgau.
Described in the factory records as fond bleu céleste, marguerites, barbeaux et roses, it included 72 plates at 36 livres each. The service was the fifth of six presented by Louis XVI to members of his wife's family. It was was broken up prior to 1888 after which date pieces appear on the art market in London at Christie's and in Paris at the Palais Galliéra. More recently, two plates were sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 28 June 1993, lot 25; another from The Valentine Collection, Christie's New York, 21 October 2005, lot 129; and a fourth from the collection of Charles-Otto Zieseniss, Christie's Paris, 5-6 December 2001, lot 268; one of four triple salts and one of four shell-shape dishes were sold from the same collection, lots 266 and 267 respectively.
For a comprehensive listing of the components of this royal service and its history, see David Peters, Sèvres Plates and Services of the 18th Century, privately printed, 2005, vol. IV, pp. 775-778; also Versailles et le tables d'Europe, exhibition catalogue, Château de Versailles, Paris, 1993, p. 342, illus. p. 187.