A Mennecy-Villeroy Knife, circa 1740

Dating from the early duc de Villeroy period of Mennecy, the tapering, faceted haft is decorated with chinoiserie scenes in a distinctive palette of yellow, blue, red, and turquoise. Two children, back to back, hold a flower and a leaf. Two vases stand in the foreground, one containing flowers. Trailing exotic flowers issue from a rocky outcrop. Distant mountains can be glimpsed between a pagoda and a pavilion, and birds swoop in the skies above. Fitted with a silver ferrule and cap, and a steel blade of French type, stamped with a cutler’s mark.

Provenance: An English Private Collection.

Condition: There is minor wear to the enamel decoration, and two short 0.5 cm hairlines close to the ferrule. A tiny pinhole was probably caused by the ejection of some impurity in the clay during firing. There is some minute fritting where the cutler ground the haft to fit the blade and ferrule. The ferrule and cap are a little tired, but the blade is sharp and securely fastened. No restoration.

Dimensions: Length 25.1 cm (including blade)

French Porcelain: A Catalogue of the British Museum Collection, Aileen Dawson (British Museum Press, 2000).

French Porcelain of the Eighteenth Century, Christopher Maxwell (V&A Publishing, 2009).

Cutlery: From Gothic to Art Deco – The J. Hollander Collection, Jan van Trigt (Petraco-Pandora NV, 1999).