A rare Tournai Plate painted with a ribbon and floral garlands in the Sèvres manner, circa 1770

This Tournai soft paste plate is decorated in the Sèvres manner with an undulating blue ribbon, floral garlands and fine gilding. It is a characteristic of Sèvres to continue the border decoration onto the cavetto, and the use of gilt feuille de chou decoration can be found on examples of Vincennes and early Sèvres (see Notes).

The quality of the painted and gilded decoration is exceptional. The flower painting is incredibly detailed and individual. The ribbon is edged with tiny gilt dots, and beside the gilt feuille de chou design, the very outer edge of the plate is decorated with an additional gilt dentil rim.

It is marked on the reverse with gilt crossed swords and four gilt crosses. It has two suspension holes inside the footrim, from manufacture.

Condition: Excellent – no chips, cracks or restoration. It must have been admired in a cabinet as there is very little wear at all, and only light kiln speckling to part of the glaze from successive firings of the biscuit porcelain, enamel, and gilding.

Dimensions: 24 cm across at the widest point

Vincennes and Early Sèvres Porcelain from the Belvedere Collection, Joanna Gwilt (V&A Publishing, 2014).

Sèvres Porcelain from the Royal Collection, Joanna Gwilt (The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 1979).

Notes: Tournai occasionally adapted earlier French patterns, including the ’embroidered’ lattice or trellis ground from the Sèvres service given by Louis XV to the Elector Palatine in 1760. This pattern formed the basis of the Chantilly ‘blue mosaic’ ground of the 1750s, which was later used by Tournai.

The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, has a Tournai tea service from 1775 decorated with cherubs in puce camaïeu (Museum Number 278-1876). This style of decoration was first popularised by Vincennes and Sèvres during the 1750s.

See also Gwilt (nos. 72, 73 and 135) for Vincennes vases decorated with gilt feuille de chou, and a Sèvres footed tray for ice-cream cups (no. 143).