This is an unusual figural veilleuse, or demiatasse teapot on a warming stand, intended to hold tea for one person. It is French, Old Paris or Fontainebleau, hard-paste porcelain, 19th century, and circa 1834 to 1850. You can view a similar veilleuse in the book, "Veilleuses A Collector's Guide" by Harold Newman on page 60, Figure 75.
The veilleuse is also shown in the booklet, "Rare Porcelain Veilleuses Collection Sixth Edition", showing the museum collection in Trenton, Tennessee. The veilleuse is shown on page 29 and is identified as being made by the French porcelain maker of Jacob Petit, who had a porcelain factory in Fontainebleau from 1830 to 1862. If you know the history of Jacob Petit, then you are aware that he delighted in designing unusual decorative veilleuses, with the best production being after 1834.
Newman refers to this type of veilleuse as being figural. Specific to this veilleuse, Newman writes, "Some figural veilleuses (not personnages) are modeled with a small full-length figure as a dominant element of the decoration of the upper half of the veilleuse, standing alongside a plinth (in the form of a tree trunk or a fountain) upon which rests a small teapot."
There are four pieces: the base, the top, the lid and the insert tray (or godet.) The godet is not original to the veilleuse. The bottom is unmarked as to maker.
The veilleuse is 12 ¾" high. The base is 5 3/8" high, and about 5 ½" by 4". The top is about 7 ½" high, and about 4 5/8" by 4 ¾".
The top of the veilleuse, the teapot portion, is a figure or figurine of a lady sitting on a rustic wood log chair or bench (tree trunk.) At her right, sitting on an arm of the bench, is a large teapot with a ribbon finial. The lid lifts off this small teapot, and that is where the hot water and tea leaves are for the veilleuse, and the tea comes out of the spout of this little teapot. On the back end, the branch which makes the bench is actually the handle for the veilleuse. Inside the teapot there is a strainer. I mention also, that the lid appears to be original to the veilleuse because of 1)fit, 2)exact match in color of the finial to the bodice of the figure, and 3)resembling the lids shown in the books. However, the lid appears to be made of soft-paste porcelain, whereas the remainder of the veilleuse is hard-paste porcelain.
The figure of the female is dressed in period costume, with lace at the bodice, a calico small flower over skirt, and a striped underskirt. The woman's hair is brown and is tied in a bun at the back. The porcelain figure has an amazing amount of intricate mold work, and you can see the modeler was quite talented. There are the folds in the skirt, and the branch seat, and one shoe peeping out from the skirt, and these are all aspects of why this figure is so special.
The base matches the top and is original to the veilleuse. Most of the gold is worn away from age and use. The front and back are painted with flower sprays, and there are some roses, morning glories, daisies and other flowers, in shades of pink, blue, orange and yellow, with green leaves.
There is a hole in the base to insert the candle in a small tray, and that keeps the tea warm. There is an additional small hole at the top on each side, to let out the light of the candle, so the veilleuse also doubles as a night light, or porcelain table lamp, on the little table next to the bed.
The veilleuse is in quite good condition. Here are the age flaws that are obvious to me. Please expect some glaze dimples and such that I may not think to mention, that would be typical on a piece this old. 1)On the top, there may be a repair at the bottom front edge. I show this area in the last photo, but it doesn't really show. It is a small area where there is an irregular line curving up and down, and so it may indicate a professional repair. Or it might just be the way it was made. 2)The gold is mostly gone, pretty much 99% gone. 3)On the inside of the base, there are dark areas and glaze separations at the top and bottom, along with dirt discoloration at the top. 4)There is a tiny line in the glaze at the bottom edge of the base. 5)There is a small flake to the unglazed bisque edge of the underside of the top part of the veilleuse. 6)There are a few indentations that appear to have been glazed over and are not a repair. 7)There are some scuff marks, glaze marks, old age discoloration marks, ... 8)Above the shoe, there is a crack, or separation in the mold, which appears to have been there for a very long time.
The flaws mentioned are due to age and wear. Currently, you may see veilleuses for sale and the seller claims the pieces are from the first half of the 1800s, yet there are no signs of wear at all. There was some reproduction of veilleuses in the 1900s, and if you see a veilleuse that looks brand new, then it is from the 1900s, not the 1800s.
Be sure to visit the other veilleuses I have listed in my shop as I do showcase a few of the more rare pieces, specifically ones that are figural
Specializing in rare, unique and beautiful antique porcelain, pottery and art glass
Ask about Layaway terms. Look for the special porcelain & glass with bird & butterfly themes, also grapes & wine.