Tray, from the Caberet Service Tray
This is a tray. It was attributed to Alexandre Brongniart and manufactured by Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory. We acquired it in 1981. Its medium is hard paste porcelain, vitreous enamel, gold leaf. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.
This oval tray is part of a breakfast service, thought to have been offered as a New Year's gift to Comtesse Montesquiou by the Empress Marie-Louise, second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. Painted in the Etruscan style, it represents a unique collaborative effort between Alexandre Brongniart, the director of Sèvres, and his father, the prolific designer Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart. The younger Brongniart’s passion for the natural world is reflected in the scientific precision with which the various bird and butterfly species are depicted, not to mention the masterful trompe-l’oeil lapis lazuli and other hard stones painted on the background. As evidenced by the tray, the elder Brongniart had a talent for integrating small-scale motifs into larger, more complex designs. The coffered pattern that rings the center of the tray evokes the domed ceiling of the Panthéon in Paris. The virtuoso centerpiece, a still life likely copied from specimens in the younger Brongniart’s collection, may be the work of Charles-Louis Constans, who painted at Sèvres between 1803 and 1840. The trompe-l’oeil shadow cast by an opalescent pearl is but one example of the attention he paid to naturalistic detail
This object was donated by Katrina H. Becker.
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Cite this object as
Tray, from the Caberet Service Tray; Attributed to Alexandre Brongniart (French, 1770–1847); France; hard paste porcelain, vitreous enamel, gold leaf; 1981-38-1