In 1756, the French porcelain manufactory Vincennes was transferred to larger quarters at Sèvres, a town on the other side of Paris, and shortly afterwards was bought by Louis XV at the request of his mistress, Madame de Pompadour. Despite royal patronage, the manufactory was greatly affected by the upheavals of the French Revolution. The appointment of Alexandre Brongniart as the Director of the factory in 1800 marked the beginning of a glorious era for Sèvres, as his management completely reversed the factory’s precarious financial state. Trained as both a scientist and engineer, Brongniart influenced every aspect of the manufactory’s organisation and production, and often designed the shapes and patterns made at the factory. He was able to sell off Sèvres’ old and outdated surplus stock, while creating fashionable Neoclassical models with new enamel colours, lavish gilding and intricately painted decoration, which were greatly admired by members of European nobility.
This oval teapot was designed by Brongniart in 1811 and comprises a squat oval body, with a flat lid surmounted by a gilded raspberry finial. Gilded by Mr Constans, the spout takes the form of a dragon while the handle culminates in a rosette featuring a lion’s head. Teapots of this shape were included in a small number of richly decorated déjeuner sets during this period. One important example in the Cha ̂teau de Malmaison was given by Napoléon Bonaparte to Princess Augusta of Bavaria as a Christmas gift in 1813. This piece however entered the sales shop in Sèvres on 26th December 1817 as a single item, and was thus not part of a déjeuner or service. It was acquired by the Comte de Damas at an exhibition held at the Louvre in Paris between 29th December 1818 to 8th January 1819.