A Saint-Cloud Brûle-parfum, modelled in the white as a gourd entwined with trailing leaves and flowers standing on a rocky base, circa 1740

Taking its inspiration from the Far East, this rare Saint-Cloud brûle-parfum is modelled in the white as a gourd entwined with trailing leaves and flowers, standing on a naturalistic, pierced rockwork base. The knop on the detachable cover is unusually modelled as a bird.

Brûle-parfums such as this would be placed in the bedrooms, boudoirs and bathrooms of the aristocracy, the fragrance from the burning pastilles emanating from the holes in the body and the cover, scenting the air of the fashionable rococo interiors. The shape is inspired by Japanese censers, whilst the white body, with its applied flower decoration, is in the tradition of prized Dehua blanc de chine porcelain.

Condition: There are openings to the foot rim / edge of the base, which occurred during manufacture and were subsequently filled. A crack surrounds the join of the gourd to the rockwork base. This may have been the result of an extended firing crack. A few of the larger leaves in this area have fine cracks. Areas of applied decoration to the body are lacking, and there are the expected losses to leaves, stems, flowers and petals. There are also one or two very short and faint glaze cracks. The bird knop is restored and there is restoration to one or two very small leaves on the cover.

Dimensions: Height (to top of knop) approximately 20.5 cm

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

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