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Plate: C.58-1961

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 26 (Lower Marlay)


Factory: Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory




Soft-paste porcelain plate decorated with a pale yellow border with gold and red oeil de perdrix decoration, reserves painted in polychrome enamels with birds in landscapes, cameo heads en grisaille, and gilding

Soft-paste porcelain, moulded, and decorated with pale yellow ground colour, painting blue, greyish-blue, several shades of green, yellow, dark pink, brown, grey, and black enamels, and gilding. Circular, with slightly shelving rim and shallow well. There is a suspension hole in the footring.
In the centre, painted in polychrome, a goose 'Oye de Canada' stands on an island beside a willow tree, with a small bird flying towards it. There are stones and grasses in the foreground and hazy trees in the background. The rim is decorated with red and gold oeil-de-perdrix on a pale yellow ground with three rectangular reserves with cut-out corners, framed by gold bands tooled alternatively with areas of striations and criss-cross trellis, each painted in polychrome with a bird in a landscape: 'Petite Perruche verte de Cayenne', 'Le Grand Pingoun des Mers du Nord' and 'Oye de Guinée'. Between them there are three small, oval reserves painted en grisaille with female heads in profile, two facing to the left, and one to the right. There are bands of gilding round the inner and outer edges of the rim.


History note: Collection of H.R.H. Princess Paley. Christie's, 6 June 1929, Collection of French Furniture, objects of art and porcelain formed by Princess Paley, first part of lot 19; Louis C.G. Clarke, Cambridge

Legal notes

L.C.G. Clarke Bequest, 1960

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 23.6 cm
Height: 2.5 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Sèvres ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1960) by Clarke, Louis Colville Gray


18th Century, Late
Louis XVI
Production date: circa AD 1784 : The plate bears the date letter for 1784


There was intense interest in natural history during the mid 18th century, and this was reflected in the popularity of bird decoration on porcelain. The birds on this plate were copied from the comte de Buffon's 'Histoire Naturelle Générale et Particulière avec la Description du Cabinet du Roi, Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux', Paris, 1770. The' Petite Perruche verte de Cayenne', from Vol. VI, 1779, p. 259, and illuminated pl. no. 359. The 'Oye de Guinée' from vol. IX, 1783, p.72, pl. III, and illuminated pl., no. 367. 'Le Grand Pingouin des Mers du Nord', from vol. IX, 1783, p. 393, and illuminated pl. no. 367. The 'Oye de Canada', vol. IX, 1783, p. 82, and illuminated pl. no. 346 which is called 'Oie sauvage du Canada'. Buffon calls this bird 'L'Oie à Cravatte, Dixième éspèce', with a footnote 'The Canada Goose', and refers to George Edwards, 'History of Birds', III, pl. 151 (the most famous English book on birds which was also used as a source of designs for Sèvres porcelain).

This plate may have been one of group of variously decorated plates sold on 20 March 1784 to the Amsterdam dealer Jean-Baptiste Lefebvre, who later in the same year ordered a service with a fond Taillandier vert et oil de perdrix with bird painting after Buffon. One of the plates sold in March cost 66 livres, the same price as those in the fond Taillandier vert service, which suggests that it might have had comparable decoration.

School or Style

Louis XVI

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamels ( blue, greyish-blue, several shades of green, yellow, dark pink, brown, grey, and black) gold

Materials used in production

presumed lead-glaze Lead-glaze
Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Soft-paste porcelain painted in enamels, and gilded.

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: interlaced L's enclosing gg
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Painted in blue enamel
  • Type: Factory mark
  • Text: 32
  • Location: On base beside footring
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Incised mark
  • Text: Oye de Canada.
  • Location: On base in the centre
  • Method of creation: Painted in violet enamel
  • Type: Inscription
  • Text: Petite Perruche verts,/de Cayenne
  • Location: On base at top
  • Method of creation: Painted in violet enamel
  • Type: Inscription
  • Text: Le Grand Pingoun des/Mers du Nord
  • Location: On base on the left
  • Method of creation: Painted in violet enamel
  • Type: Inscription
  • Text: Oye de Guinée
  • Location: On base on right
  • Method of creation: Painted in violet enamel
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: narrow white paper label

  • Text: Collection of/H.R.H. Princess Paley
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Hand-written in faded black ink
  • Type: Label
  • Text: SEVRES
  • Location: On base
  • Method of creation: Printed
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.58-1961
Primary reference Number: 93751
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 12 January 2021 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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