Sèvres Porcelain Urn with Figural Handles

This example is a modern decorative hard paste porcelain fantasy pretending to be 18th century Sevres porcelain. It has an obvious familiar mark boldly printed on the bottom, a looped capital 'L' device enclosing a letter, it is decorated with classical scenes, brightly accented with gold and has fancy, creature-shaped handles, but this article was not made by the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres (National manufacturer of Sèvres). The mark is spurious; the vase is a fake that has never been anywhere near the Sèvres factory in France. Frequently very new items like these are offered to buyers as if 'antique' though fresh from the reproduction wholesaler's packaging.

All marks used by Sèvres over time are well documented. Each corresponded to a specific period of time. The looped capital 'L' marks, the royal cipher of the king, are 18th century marks applied to soft paste porcelain articles. The specific cipher mark you see in this listing enclosing a capital 'S' would indicate the year 1771. But that mark would never have originally been applied to hard paste porcelain. A mark that included a representation of the king's crown was reserved for use on hard paste.

The original mark of the king was always drawn by hand, too, causing each to be unique, though similarly shaped. The mark seen here on this item was printed by a modern factory machine. Compare it with the identical stamped mark on the Swan Handled Vases listed here in this shop under Item ID: 2007RP000244

Lastly, take a close look at the body of the example presented. Artwork and gilding on true Sèvres porcelain is always extremely fine. All decorative processes were sophisticated and strictly controlled. Gilding on antique Sevres was sumptuous. It was built up in layers to have a three-dimensional look. The vase in this listing is pretty, but far from spectacular. The gilding is flat, having simply been painted rather haphazardly over raised surface decoration, mocking rather badly the appearance of layering. If you look closely at any section of the vase it is easy to see that none of its decoration is of 'Sèvres' quality. Though you may need to look close to tell for sure, most specious items of this type were decorated with transfer designs, not hand painted.

Ask yourself, honestly, does it really look like it was made in 1771? Is it fit for presentation to royalty? To a king? The answer to each of those questions is, no.

Always remember, Sevres' marks are among the most commonly faked marks on porcelain. So you have to examine other item characteristics rather than relying solely on the mark.

Measures 20 inches tall; 14 inches across the handles. It rests on a 7" square base.

Item ID: 2007RP000304

Modern Reproductions, Fakes and Fantasies

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