Painting trompe l'oeil cameos in the manner of antique hardstone cameos had been attempted at Sèvres in the 18th century, but was only convincingly mastered under Alexandre Brongniart's directorship of the manufactory, when they became a popular medium for representing important historical figures. Brongniart's training as a mineralogist could well have influenced the refinement of this technique of producing cameos in imitation of sardonyx, agate, carnelian and other hard stones. Cameos were well adapted for Imperial propaganda, and lent an antique 'authenticity' to depictions of France's rulers. In order to achieve the greatest accuracy and authenticity possible, the sources of the designs were chosen with the greatest care. In 1811, Brongniart even went to the lengths of requesting the second edition of the three volume book Iconographie grecque by Ennio-Quirino on which Napoleon had placed an embargo in order that he could give them away as gifts. Brongniart wrote to Comte Daru (Intendant Général de la Maison de l'Empereur) explaining that Visconti's Iconographie grecque was 'indispensable to the factory; it would be inexcusable for me to allow errors to be made in the execution of any portraits published in this collection'. See Samuel Wittwer et al., Raffinesse & Eleganz, Königliche Porzellane des frühen 19. Jahrhunderts aus der Twinight Collection New York, Munich, 2007, pp. 158-161 cat. no. 11 for a service Iconographique grec decorated in a similar manner to the present lot and pp. 178-179, no. 19 for the dèjeuner Château d'Eu with closely related portraits.