It bore date letters for 1779, the interlaced LL and the marks of the painter Philippe Castel and the gilder Vincent. Two oval cartouches to each side were painted with scenes: a pastoral landscape with a bridge and shepherds and flowers in a garden. The pot is one of a pair purchased by Louis XVI for the cabinet des bains at Versailles, where one of them still remains.
They are recorded in the factory archives and also in the Versailles porcelain inventory for 1791. The one sold at Daguerre in March, which had some restoration and damage, realised a within-estimate €23,000 (£19,830) at the auction on March 29. It will rejoin its companion, having been pre-empted by the Château of Versailles.
Around 60 lots of French porcelain – Vincennes, Sèvres and Mennecy – featured in Butterscotch Auctions’ (22% buyer’s premium) sale in Bedford, New York, on March 31. They were part of a larger consignment from the estate of the late John F Ball, a film and television executive.
Ball’s mother-in-law was Elizabeth Parke Firestone, a noted collector of French porcelain, among other works.
Many of the pieces offered at Butterscotch found buyers in the three-figure range.
However, among the items for which there was higher demand was a pair of 12½in (31cm) diameter Sèvres plates painted with floral sprays with a date letter for 1764 and a painter’s mark for Thevenet which realised $2600 (£2000); a pair of Mennecy white tobacco jars with moulded floral decoration and silver mounts which sold for $2100 (£1615) and a Vincennes bottle cooler of 1750s date painted with floral bouquets and with a painter’s mark for Fontaine that made $1600 (£1230).
£1 = €1.16/$1.30