Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Coffee service for two Tête-à-tête

Egyptian Revival porcelain Tête-à-tête Austria, Vienna, 1794-1809

Egyptian Revival porcelain Tête-à-tête Austria, Vienna, 1794-1809 made by the Imperial Manufactory. This beautiful set of porcelain is on display in the Boston Museum of Art. Widespread fascination with Egypt inspired European ceramic factories to produce Egyptian-style wares during the late eighteenth century. For this coffee service. The Vienna factory freely mixed ancient Egyptian motifs such as sphinxes, crocodiles, and hieroglyphs and even based the coffeepot's shape on an ancient canopic jar, or funerary vessel. All theses fanciful models fell into favor after Napoleon Bonaparte's military expedition to Egypt in 1798 resulted in an explosion of information on the country and prompted more strictly archaeological interpretations of the Egyptian Revival style in the Arts.

Canopic jar, or funerary vessel shape coffee pot

Note gold gilt crocodile handle of sugar bowl

Etched hieroglyphs into the gold gilt of the cup

Egyptian Revival porcelain Tête-à-tête Austria, Vienna, 1794-1809 made by the Imperial Manufactory


  1. Now Andrew, I love this at lot. I don't think people know how much we owe to Napoleon and the French for promoting all the interest in Old Egypt which spread to all areas of our culture. I have a photo of my sister standing in front of the Spinx; I guess it's too dangerous to go there now but it was a lifelong dream of mine to do so. Keep posting. It's all good. Marshel

  2. Hi Marshel your sister was lucky to have gone there. I would also like to go to Egypt especially since they are discovering new ancient sights over there right now. But it is not safe. Although Napoleons Military campaign in Egypt was unsuccessful. Napoleon tuck with him to Egypt Artist & scientists to document and study Egypt. He use there work as propaganda to further his career along with a priceless hoard of Egyptian antiquities to make the Egyptian campaign look successful.