Lozenge-shaped, two-handled tray of soft-paste porcelain painted with overglaze enamel colors in shades of blue, yellow, lilac and green, the pierced sides decorated with an intricate pattern of ribbons and tulips, the center with geometric diaper motifs (four gilded star and dot pattern, four floral, diamond pattern) within gilt scrollwork and berried foliage borders on white ground, the reverse of the rim and handles heightened in blue

Tray

Painted by Charles-Louis Mereau, Royal Porcelain Manufactory Sèvres

1765

This delicate tray painted in bright enamel colors in a pattern of scrolls, leafy vines, ribbons, and repeating geometric patterns was most likely originally part of a déjeuner, a set of porcelain vessels comprised of a tea- or coffee pot, cup and saucer, sugar, and cream jug together with a matching tray. We know the painter of the tray based on the marks on its underside.


From almost its inception, Sèvres has used the French royal monogram—a pair of intertwined Ls—as a factory mark and has included a letter to represent the year made. Although many craftsmen were involved in the decoration of a piece, up until about 1770 only the painters signed their work. These marks were used as a way to control the quality and quantity of the painters’ output, rather than to highlight individual accomplishment.