Although the bouillotte, or water kettle, is considered one of the least known and least successful styles produced by Sèvres, their decorative styles employed the best painters and gilders at the manufactory, with the inclusion of silver and gold mounts attesting to the important patrons that commissioned them. Of the 89 that were made in this style, only 12 are accounted for today, 2 of which are in the Chitra Collection.
This example is believed to be the bouillotte ordered by Marie Antoinette or Louis XVI at Le Voyage de Versailles in January 1779. In the same year, the Queen commissioned a redecoration and furnishing of her rooms ordering some of the most refined objects, of which this hot water kettle is likely to have been one. It was decorated by Philippe Parpette, one of Sèvres’ chief artists known for his floral decoration on a gold ground, working for the most important clients, with similar decoration found on a covered trembleuse produced in the same year for Maria Fedoronva, Empress of Russia. This example is the only surviving bouillotte to include gold interlaced L’s, the royal emblem, as handles, as opposed to the lyre form. Such a prestigious and important item, it has been part of some of the finest collections in its past, including that of the Dowager Duchess of Beaufort, The Hector Binney Collection and The Dalva Brothers.