Monday, June 13, 2016

Today's purchases

A period Empire circa 1810 large Old Paris porcelain coffee pot handpainted with roaring lion 

Over the past week I have bought some wonderful 18th & 19th century Old Paris porcelain from ebay, to add to my ever growing collection. Including in these purchases is this fabulous large Period Empire NeoClassical coffee pot, handpainted with a roaring lion on one side "I'm a leo" and hyena on the other side. The rest of the classical coffee pot is decorated in the finest Empire decoration.  The gold gilt spout is in the shape of a sea horse with acanthus leaf motif. 

The handle of the coffee pot continues the decoration of acanthus leafs with a beautifully detailed bisque mask of a satyr at the top and a intricate design of a bisque Greek honeysuckle at the bottom. The classical inspirations for this porcelain coffee pot are along the lines of designs of Percier and Fontaine Napoleon's architects. The designs drew for inspiration on symbols and ornaments borrowed from the glorious ancient Greek and Roman empires. This coffee pot does have some damage that I will have repaired. It is a beautiful & rich workmanship of  this period of French history. 

Detail of handpainted roaring lion. 

The Empire style, French pronunciation: ​[ɑ̃.piːʁ],the second phase of Romanticism, is an early-nineteenth-century design movement in architecture, furniture, other decorative arts, and the visual arts that flourished between 1800 and 1815 during the Consulate and the First French Empire periods, although its life span lasted until the late 1830s (or more depending on each country). From France it spread into much of Europe and the United States.

The style originated in and takes its name from the rule of Napoleon I in the First French Empire, when it was intended to idealize Napoleon's leadership and the French state. The style corresponds in that intent to the Biedermeier style in the German-speaking lands, Federal style in the United States, and the Regency style in Britain. The previous style in France was called Louis XVI style.

A handpainted hyena on the other side. 

The style developed and elaborated the Directoire style of the immediately preceding period, which aimed at a simpler, but still elegant evocation of the virtues of the Ancient Roman Republic:

The stoic virtues of Republican Rome were upheld as standards not merely for the arts but also for political behaviour and private morality. Conventionels saw themselves as antique heroes. Children were named after Brutus, Solon and Lycurgus. The festivals of the Revolution were staged by David as antique rituals. Even the chairs in which the committee of Salut Publique sat were made on antique models devised by David. ...In fact Neo-classicism became fashionable.

Detail of hand painted hyena on the other side. 

The Empire style "turned to the florid opulence of Imperial Rome. The abstemious severity of Doric was replaced by Corinthian richness and splendour".

Two French architects, Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine, were together the creators of the French Empire style. The two had studied in Rome and in the 1790s became leading furniture designers in Paris, where they received many commissions from Napoleon and other statesmen.

The gold gilt spout is in the shape of a sea horse with white bisque acanthus leaf motif. 

In the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States, the Empire style was adapted to local conditions and gradually acquired further expression as the Egyptian Revival, Greek Revival, Biedermeier style, Regency style, and late-Federal style.

Detail of the handle of the coffee pot. 

The beautifully detailed bisque Greek honeysuckle at the bottom. 

After Napoleon lost power, the Empire style continued to be in favour for many decades, with minor adaptations. There was a revival of the style in the last half of the nineteenth century in France, again at the beginning of the twentieth century, and again in the 1980s.

The beautifully detailed bisque mask of a satyr at the top of the handle. 
This coffee pot does have some damage that I will have repaired. 

I own a large collection of Old Paris porcelain classical coffee cups and cans dating from 1790-1830 that could be used with this coffee pot like these half egg shape cups with  loop handle and beautiful mellow delicate hand painted gold gilt.  

I can't wait to serve Café au lait out of this coffee pot at le château de Hopkins.


  1. Oh, somehow this post escaped me, but the decoration on your coffee pot is magnificent!

    I once saw an entire tea and coffee service of similar decoration. Each piece had a different hand-painted animal on it. Oh, how I would have loved to have purchased it but, truth be told, I'm cramped for space and could not possibly accommodate a large set of porcelain. I suppose that is why, lately, I've been buying bits and pieces trying to convince myself that I could just cram one more item "in there". My cupboards and drawers are just bursting though! A sign of a crazed collector I suppose.

    1. Chronica Domus thank you! I have also seen a few sets of porcelain with different animals painted on each piece. I'm very cramped for space but have never let that stop me from buying! I have Paris porcelain under furniture, inside of furniture, on top of refrigerators. And just packed up and stored in boxes. I have a set of 8 dessert plates coming in the mail today without any room in the cabinets to place one more plate.