Déjeuner tea set

ARTIST / MAKER: Sèvres porcelain factory (manufacturer)
DATE: ca.1758 (made)
PLACE: France (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain with overglaze enamels and gilt

The diminutive size of the set and the absence of a tea or coffee pot suggest that this déjeuner solitaire (breakfast service for one) was designed to be served in an intimate setting, such as the bedroom or boudoir. Although the cup’s shape closely resembles the cylindrical form of coffee cans rather than teacups, such sets would have been used for any hot drink, including chocolate, depending on the user’s preference.

Each piece is painted in pink camaïeu, a technique whereby only two or three tints of one colour are used to decorate the surface. The porcelain set was likely a special commission, a luxury which only the wealthiest members of French society could afford. The swags and trailing garlands of blossoms and foliage are characteristic of Rococo ornament particularly favoured by aristocratic ladies.