This example shows a pair of fantasy, porcelain egg-shaped containers. They have gilt decoration and the sides feature country scenes of courting couples en Grisaille. Each is marked on the bottom with a looped capital 'L' device enclosing the letter 'S' to suggest it was the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres (National manufacturer of Sèvres) who made them. This is a spurious contemporary mark. These items were not made by Sèvres and they aren't very old, either, though frequently items such as this are always represented to buyers as either 'vintage' or 'antique' in age.
Marks used by the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres are all well documented and correspond to specific periods of time. The stamped mark on the bottom of these two pieces was never used at Sèvres. Eighteenth century Sèvres marks were painted by hand. It wasn't until the nineteenth century that printed factory marks became characteristic, and those marks were different in form than those of the eighteenth century.
If the mark on these pieces were hand-painted and authentic it would indicate soft paste articles Sèvres made only during a single year. A single capital 'S' enclosed indicates manufacture during the year 1771.
Look closely at the items in this listing, and then at the mark. There is really no excuse for identifying these kinds of items as 'Sèvres' since clearly they are transfer decorated hard paste (not hand-painted soft paste). They are not very old, having a common, modern look about them. And, each bears the same identical mark. Like your own signature applied to two different documents, no hand-painted mark would ever be exactly identical from one porcelain piece to another. Only a printed mark will appear so.
The interlaced mirror imaged upper case L's of the royal cipher of eighteenth century Sèvres has been extensively copied since 1753. In that year, when soft paste porcelain was still being made at the Chateau de Vincennes, the king's royal cipher enclosed the letter 'A'. The letters 'A' through 'D' were only ever used while the company made porcelain at Vincennes - from 1753 to 1756. After moving to the village of Sèvres, about 6 miles southwest of the center of Paris, subsequent year letters were used, beginning with the letter 'E' in 1757. When the end of the alphabet was reached in 1777, double capital letters were used, up to establishment of the First Republic in France. Though QQ (1794) and RR (1795) are not unknown, they are thought to be unauthorized.
Many Sèvres marks have been copied over the years, but it is these earliest 'King's marks' that seem to be those most frequently aped by makers of today's new fakes. Ideally the application of this mark should actually make them easy to spot as fakes. But unfortunately many people are unaware of facts surrounding Sèvres marks that could help to prevent them from making a purchasing (or selling) error.
Keep in mind a mark like the one shown on the pieces in this listing was reserved for use only on soft paste porcelain, and it was never printed by a machine. A similar cipher mark topped by a crown was reserved for hard paste porcelain. But, the hard paste mark was also not printed and it was no longer used after 1793.
Anyone would sincerely like to be able to identify porcelain items they have to sell as authentic Sèvres, a famous and well respected maker of quality. Unfortunately, because of this desire, mistaken identifications frequently take place. If the seller of a porcelain piece doesn't honestly know who may have made it, all too often the temptation is to 'guess who' did, basing an identification (usually) only on the faulty interpretation of a suggestive mark.
Each of the pieces shown measures 7 1/2 inches tall.
Illustrations and Characteristics for Help in Identifying Many Confusing New Items
Item listings in this shop are intended to be viewed for educational purposes, only. Items in this shop are not for sale.