Friday, 26 July 2013

Marie Leszczynska's Service

When Marie Leszczynska had given birth to an Dauphin in 1729 Louis XV was so excited that he ordered this porcelain service for his Queen - after all she had performed her greatest duty. With her new gift the Queen could enjoy chocolate, tea and coffee which were all considered to be exotic and therefore in fashion. The wooden chest contained and still contains:
  • A coffee caddy
  • A tea caddy
  • A spice box (spices were often put in chocolate)
  • A chocolate pot on a lamp stand
  • A cream-jug shaped as a sea-shell
  • A tea strainer
  • A coffee grinder
  • A bell, a funnel
  • A long-handled spoon
  • Sugar tongs
These pieces were the work of Henry-Nicolas Cousinet. Some of the pieces has a clear reference to the recent birth of an heir to the throne: the chocolate pot's three legs are dolphins and some of the other pieces also have the motif of a dolphin somewhere on them.

Also the King had ordered separate pieces of porcelain to accompany the chic gift: two tea bowls with matching saucers, a sugar bowl, a teapot, two cups and two stands. All this were in gilded silver.
These pieces has different origins; some are Chinese, others Japanese and others again from Saxony. The porcelain pieces are all inspired by the Far East with Chinese motifs. 

This tea, coffee and chocolate service, which originally bore the arms of Queen Marie Leczinska (1703-68), commemorates the birth of the Dauphin (father of Louis XVI, Louis XVIII and Charles X) in 1729). Most of the pieces, by Henry-Nicolas Cousinet, are in gilded silver, and they bear witness to the emergence of the rococo style.

                        Nécessaire à thé, café, chocolat de la reine Marie Leczinska, vers 1729-1730, offert par le roi à la reine à l'occasion de la naissance du Dauphin.
                                   The porcelain set
Chocolate pot on a lamp stand, French, 1729, silver gilt. Henry-Nicolas COUSINET. The chocolate pot with a dolphin spout has a stand with three dolphin legs - allusions to the birth of the Dauphin - and is decorated with small garlands; the lid is surmounted by a tiny bouquet of flowers. Part of Tea, coffee, and chocolate service offered by Louis XV to Queen Marie Leszczynska after the birth of the dauphin in 1729.
Chocolate pot with the three
dolphin legs

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