Large Decorative Centerpiece with Cover and Base Marked with Sevres Crossed L's

This example is a modern decorative hard paste porcelain fantasy pretending to be 18th century Sevres porcelain. It has been decorated with classical scenes, fancy figural handles and lots of gold enamel in the hope that it will be mistaken for Sevres porcelain. And all too often novice buyers do just that. Most often this is because of the familiar looking mark consisting of a looped capital 'L' device enclosing the capital letter 'S' that is boldly printed on the bottoms of such new pieces. Because it mimics a real Sevres mark seen in books its presence often fulfills the intended deception well enough.

Let there be no mistake, this item was not made by the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres (National manufacturer of Sèvres). The mark is spurious and the object is a fake. It has never been anywhere near the Sèvres factory in France. Frequently very new items like these are purchased wholesale by the dozens for nominal prices and then offered to buyers as valuable antiques as fast as they are unwrapped 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 that were applied only to soft paste porcelain. The specific cipher mark you see in this listing enclosing a capital 'S' would indicate the year 1771 if it were an authentic mark. But Sèvres applied a different mark that included a representation of the king's crown on hard paste porcelain, which is the substance of which this item is made. A mark reserved for soft paste would never have been applied on an item made of hard paste porcelain.

The original mark of the king was always drawn by hand, too, causing each to be unique, though similarly shaped. The mark on this item was printed by a modern factory machine. Compare it with the identical stamped mark on other items listed here in this shop, such as item ID: 2007RP000304 Porcelain Urn with Figural Handles, or the Swan Handled Vases in Item ID: 2007RP000244.

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

Take a close look at the body of this example. 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. This item is pretty, but far from spectacular.

The figural portions are poorly modeled. Look at hands, hair and facial features. On new fakes these typically have a thick crudeness about them that is unseemly. Gilding is flat, being simply applied by machine over raised surface decoration. The effect only mocks the appearance of the careful layering hand applied on authentic antique Sevres. 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 or gilded.

If you consider sections of decoration on this piece independent of one another it is easy to see that none is of 'Sèvres' quality.

Does this item really look as if it could have been made in 1771? Is it fit for presentation to royalty? To a king? The answer to each of those questions is, no.

Measures 23 inches tall by 20 1/2 inches wide.

Item ID: 2007RP000327

$10,000 USD

Modern Reproductions, Fakes and Fantasies

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