Potpourri Vase with Figure Group

Made by the Mennecy porcelain factory, Mennecy, France, c. 1749 - 1773

Made in Mennecy, France, Europe

c. 1750-1760

Soft-paste porcelain

9 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 7 1/16 inches (24.2 x 22.3 x 18 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 269, European Art 1500-1850, second floor (Boyer Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Morris Hawkes, 1942

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPorcelain

    When in 1748 the Council of State prohibited the manufacture of porcelain in Paris in favor of the newly privileged wares of the factory in nearby Vincennes, François Barbin moved his porcelain establishment outside the city to Mennecy and under the protection of Louis-François de Neufville, duc de Villeroi. Exclusive rights to use gold and to paint the human figure in colors were reserved to Vincennes, and although many factories under the protection of the royal family and the court refused to comply with these constraints, the revival of interest in unpainted, white-glazed porcelains such as this potpourri suggests that these restrictions had some effect.

    Competition between Vincennes and the other factories were fierce, and they all produced rival versions of this potpourri mounted on a rockwork base. A simple white potpourri modeled with flowers and leaves was produced at Saint-Cloud, and in 1752 Vincennes created a series of realistically painted potpourris decorated with applied flowers and set on a rockwork base with a tree trunk. Both Chantilly and Mennecy reproduced the Vincennes model with its tree trunk, Mennecy in at least two other versions, one with flowers applied to the potpourri and the other painted with Kakiemon patterns in the style of Chantilly. The Museum's potpourri is an elaborate variant of the type. The rockwork base is transformed and expanded into a picturesque setting for the figure of a shepherd and his flock, the potpourri itself becoming almost secondary to the original figure group. Kathryn B. Hiesinger, from Guides to European Decorative Arts: Porcelain (1984), p. 12.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.