Kaolin (the clay used for porcelain) was discovered in
Under Brongniart’s tenure as head of Sèvres, Renaissance, Gothic, and even the not-so-long-ago Rococo period styles were copied. In a way, this historic eclecticism was seen as preserving art movements of the past. Often, however, when copying an object or decoration from a previous period, the Sèvres piece dwarfed the original object – bingo, the trademark of 19th century historicism, sort of like the Wild West in the
This coffee pot is an exception to the over-abundance of decoration typical of the period, but it certainly conforms to the in-your-face design typical of the 19th century in European porcelain. The second half of the 19th century in
In using an elephant’s head as the motif, this pot is closely aligned to the taste for exoticism that was part of the Romanticism movement of the 1830s through the 1850s. The elephant motif was a popular symbol of magnificence and luxury. This piece features the pâte-sur-pâte (paste upon paste) technique, which involved building up low sculptural relief on the surface of an unfired pot with successive layers of slip. Such pieces gained great popularity in
The Wallace Collection in London has a large collection of gorgeous Sèvres porcelain.