Monday, January 31, 2011

The French Egyptian Revival style retour d'Egypte

Louis Devedeux, Le général Desaix en Egypte

In 1810, under the rule of Napoléon Bonaparte, a nude statue of the General Louis Desaix with a pyramid was in the center of the Place des Victoires in Paris.

This has been one of the memorable post that I have worked on. When I first set out to do it. I thought it would be a small post as French Egyptian style anything is so rare but as I got into the research I had to cut a lot off as there was so much info on the fascinating subject. I have worked on this post every day this month and thought it interesting that as this post is going out, Egypt in turmoil in the news with riots, looting and lawlessness spreading across a ancient nation & culture struggling to overthrow nearly 30 years of authoritarian rule. Today we will explore French Egyptian Revival architecture, decorative arts, porcelain, furniture and art.

The French Egyptian Revival style or the retour d'Egypte refers to style that makes use of the motifs and imagery of ancient Egypt. By the end of the 18th century enthusiasm for ancient Egypt generated by Napoleon's unsuccessful conquest of Egypt and, in Britain, to Admiral Nelson's defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Napoleon took a scientific expedition with him to Egypt and this was the first time a major study of ancient Egypt was done. Publication of the expedition's work, the Description de l'Égypte, began in 1809 and came out in a series though 1826 influencing a new way of life in France thru architecture & decorative arts. However, works of art,decorative arts, furniture and, in the field of architecture & garden follies, funerary monuments in the Egyptian style had appeared in scattered European settings from the time of the Renaissance.

The Egyptian Revival style came out in a few waves in France before Napoleon during the Ancien Régime Egyptian motifs were mixed with the Neoclassical-Louis XVI style in architecture, furniture and decorative arts. A big surge hit France around 1798 during Napoleons Egyptian expedition. This was the first major Egyptian Revival period as this was the first time in history that a major study on Egypt was done. French people became fascinated with the ancient Egyptian history, culture, architecture and furniture. Egyptian ornamentation like scarab beetles, sphinxes, winged lions and lotuses details were incorporated into Classical style furniture and decorative arts creating a style known as a hybrid Neo-Egyptian.

The next wave was during the height of the French Romantic period 1820s-1850s. The Egyptian Revival emerged as a result of the famous archaeological digs of the first half of the 19th century and was primarily used for Tomb memorials, temples, and cemeteries and some decorative arts. This style is distinguished by its adaptation of Egyptian forms and motifs, sphinxes guarding buildings including lotus blossoms, Pharaoh's heads, the winged disk symbol of the sun God, as well as the use of bold bright colors.

At the end of the 19th century 1870-1890's the Egyptian Revival styles were in vogue once more. At the Height of the Victorian period the Egyptian style was even more elaborate than before. Often incorporated with Neo-Greek & Renaissance Revival styles. Victorians were even more fascinated with these rare finds and incorporated their motifs into jewelry, furniture, glass and Art pottery. Heavily ornamented overstuffed furniture made its way into homes, by way of the parlor suite. armchairs with gilt pharaoh's heads and goat feet, elegant sofa's with palmiform columns and lotus blossoms filled the middle class homes of France. Other items were made and reflect the population's desire for the exotic. Clocks and mantle garnitures featuring sphinxes and other Egyptian motifs were popular made in onyx or ivory alabaster trimed in gilt bronze with two matching obelisks that would flank the clock that was crowned with a bronze sphinx. Baccarat manufactured several gilt bronze and crystal items such as jardinieres, desk items, vases and jewel caskets. By the late 19th century Egyptian Revival designs merged with the Art Nouveau style.

Oil paintings were also popular way of bringing the exotic into the home, sumptuous Egyptian scenes and lush and sensuous beauties, most of them being Cleopatra, graced the canvases of such artists as Jean Andre Rixens, Jean-Leon Gerome, Mose Bianchi, Juan Luna, Alexandre Cabanel and others. Marble statues of Egyptian figures were also produced.

The expeditions that eventually led to the discovery in 1922 of the treasure of Tutankhamun's tomb by the archaeologist Howard Carter led to a fourth revival of the Egyptian style often mixed with the Art Deco style. Its major contributions were to architecture pottery and the jewelry world, combining the streamlined geometric of Art Deco with ancient motifs for a fairly modern flair.

Napoleon a propagandist bought back Egyptian artifacts to France that resulted in an explosion of information on the country and prompted more strictly archaeological interpretations of the Egyptian Revival style in the Arts. What was new in the wake of the Napoleonic invasion was the sudden leap in the number of works of art of Egyptomania and the fact that, for the first time, European buildings began to be built to resemble those of ancient Egypt. The most important building of the Egyptian revival in France was the Egyptian Temple in the Place des Victoires, built as a memorial to generals Desaix and Kleber with a bronze nude statue of the General Desaix. The cornerstone was laid on 19 Fructidor Year VIII (September 6, 1800.) However, following the abdication of Napoléon, the statue was taken down and its metal was used to create a new statue of Henry IV on the nearby Pont Neuf.

An Egyptian Revival building that can still be seen in Paris is the 1812 Fountain of the Fellah, Rue de Sèvres, by François-Jean Bralle.

During the late 18th century and early 19th century Egyptian motifs were applied to a wide variety of Decorative arts objects. Publication of Napoleon's expedition's work, the Description de l'Égypte, began in 1809 and came out in a series though 1826, inspiring everything form sofas with Sphinxes for legs to tea sets painted with the pyramids. It was the popularity of the style that was new.

Hotel Gouthiere, Rue Pierre Bullet 6

One of my favorite 18th century homes in Paris is the Hotel Gouthiere located at 6, rue Pierre-Bullet, It was built from 1772-1780 for bronzer Gouthiere who had to sell it in 1787 because of his debts. It is one of the most charming Neo-Egyptian Louis XVI interiors and exteriors. The street courtyard wall is topped by Sphinxes and the carved courtyard entrance is decorated with the caduceus staff. Gouthiere work on the famous jewel cabinet of Marie Antoinette.

The courtyard and front entrance of The Hotel Gouthiere showing Sphinxes and Neo-Classical entrance

The courtyard and front entrance of The Hotel Gouthiere showing Sphinxes and Neo-Classical entrance

Louis XVI period Wall paneling showing arabesques of Egyptian influence in The Hotel Gouthiere

Louis XVI period Wall paneling showing arabesques of Egyptian influence in The Hotel Gouthiere

A sphinx outside the Picasso Museum

Châtelet monument Sphinxes were designed in 1858 by Gabriel Davioud and sculpted by Henri Alfred Jacquemart (1824-1896); they commemorate Napoleon's victory in Egypt

Sphinxes were designed in 1858 by Gabriel Davioud and sculpted by Henri Alfred Jacquemart (1824-1896); they commemorate Napoleon's victory in Egypt

The Passage du Caire has the distinction of being the longest passage in Paris and oldest it dates from 1798.

There are different entrances; the main one is at Place du Caire, remarkable for the 1829 pseudo-Egyptian decoration of the facade with three heads of the goddess Hathor, some (supposed to be) hieroglyphs… . The surrounding streets have also names referring to Egypt. This is all due to the passion for Egypt which followed Napoleon's campaigns in this country. The gallery dates from 1798. There are different alleys, but if you follow the major one, you will reach Rue Saint Denis.

The most interesting aspect of the passage is the façade on the building at number 2 with its representation of the goddess Hathor by three giant heads. Some hieroglyphs can be seen on upper floors. Specialising in the lithography business and shop display mannequins, Passage du Caire is today only of real interest for customers of the clothing wholesalers there. The Egyptian exoticism is hardly visible as the passage has become so dirty.

The most interesting aspect of the passage is the façade on the building at number 2 with its representation of the goddess Hathor by three giant heads. Some hieroglyphs can be seen on upper floors. Specialising in the lithography business and shop display mannequins, Passage du Caire is today only of real interest for customers of the clothing wholesalers there. The Egyptian exoticism is hardly visible as the passage has become so dirty.

pseudo-Egyptian decoration

pseudo-Egyptian decoration

Goddess Hathor

pseudo-Egyptian decoration of the facade with three heads of the goddess Hathor

Pseudo-Egyptian decoration of the facade with three heads of the goddess Hathor

 Goddess Hathor

The Hôtel de Beauharnais, 78 rue de Lille, now residence of the German ambassador in Paris, with its Egyptian-style portico added in 1803, has beautiful Empire style interior decoration.

A pair of bleu turquin marble statues of Antinous by Pierre-Nicolas Beauvallet (1750-1818), created towards 1810, after the ancient figures of Osiris-Antinous, the most well known of which being the white marble statue found in 1739 in the Villa Hadriana, now exhibited in the Vatican Museums (Museo Gregoriano Egizio).

Originally these two figures were placed in two niches cut into the side walls of the Egyptianising pylon-form portico of the Hôtel de Beauharnais, the parisian residence of Napoleon's stepson, Eugène de Beauharnais.

The Hôtel de Beauharnais, 78 rue de Lille, now residence of the German ambassador in Paris, with its Egyptian-style portico added in 1803, has beautiful Empire style interior decoration.

The Hôtel de Beauharnais, 78 rue de Lille, now residence of the German ambassador in Paris, with its Egyptian-style portico added in 1803, has beautiful Empire style interior decoration.

The Hôtel de Beauharnais, 78 rue de Lille, now residence of the German ambassador in Paris, with its Egyptian-style portico added in 1803, has beautiful Empire style interior decoration.

 Eugène de Beauharnais

 Eugène de Beauharnais

The Fontaine du Fellah, also known as the Egyptian Fountain, located at 52 rue de Sèvres in the 7th arrondissement of Paris

The Egyptian Fountain was built in 1806 during the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte, in the neo-Egyptian style inspired by Napoleon's Egyptian campaign. It is the work of architect Louis-Simon Bralle and sculptor Pierre-Nicolas Beauvalet.

The Fontaine du Fellah was one of fifteen fountains constructed by Napoleon to provide fresh drinking water to the population of Paris, and to commemorate his military campaigns. The fountain was constructed against the wall of what was then the hospital for incurable patients. It was the work of architect François-Jean Bralle, the chief engineer of the water supply for the city of Paris, who also was responsible for reconstructing the Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens and several other fountains. The sculptural decoration was by Pierre-Nicolas Beauvalet, who also worked on the decoration of the column in Place Vendôme, and made busts of many revolutionary figures. The present statue is a copy made of Beauvalet's original by Jean-François Gechter.

The present statue is a copy made of Beauvalet's original by Jean-François Gechter.

The title refers to an Egyptian fellah, or peasant, but statue appears to be a copy of a Roman statue of Antinous, a favorite of the Emperor Hadrian, which was discovered in the excavation of Hadrian's villa in Tivoli in 1739. The original of the statue is found in the Vatican Museum in Rome.

The figure holds two amphorae, one in each hand. Water poured from the amphorae into the semicircular basin below, then through a bronze masqueron in the form of a lion's head.

The top of the fountain is decorated with an eagle, signifying Napoleon's imperial rule.

This statue of the Roman Antinoüs dressed as Osiris, found in Hadrian's villa in 1739, apparently was the model for the fountain

1831 Romantic period French Egyptian Revival Wash house in Mauvages Department of the Meuse, decorated with four bronze lions' muzzles adorn the facade and the grid, on each of these sets it says: T. Oudet architect. for Joseph-Théodore Oudet

The most famous fountain is the laundry-called "fountain of Deo. " Semicircular plan is a realization of architect Theodore barisien Oudet, in 1831 . In parallel with another wave hit the country, that of Egyptomania, stimulated both by the campaign of Bonaparte in Egypt and the work of Champollion, architects and engineers will gladly draw their inspiration. At Mauvages, Oudet would have been inspired by two Parisian buildings to create the fountain Deo, the portico of the hotel Beauharnais, rue de Lille, and the Egyptian Bralle fountain in the Rue de Sevres , especially for the statue Deo said the plant, which is a copy of Antinous, the young favorite of Emperor Hadrian represented by a large number of works of art, for example at the Capitol in Rome.

Above a cornice bears a golden eagle, emblem of Napoleon, the penthouse of the fountain bears this inscription in Latin: 
«IN THE YEAR OF Marcus D. 300. 31. / UNDER THE MALVAGIAE, the magistrate shall J: F: THOUAND: / MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY for my prayer, the service of public / This monument has been built up; / EX T: OUDET, ARCHIVES: elected, appointed: pencil: »

Papyrus carved Egyptian Revival style capitals are topped with sea shells. On the entablature, the intercolumniation are engraved three inscriptions in French and verse:

The fountain Deo been a classification as historic monuments since May 2, 1988.

Frontispiece to The Description of Egypt, a book in the public domain for some time and published by the French government from 1809-1823.

A PAIR OF FRENCH BLACK AND GILT-PAINTED TÔLE COLZA OIL CHANDELIERS 19TH CENTURY  with a domed corona, painted with the signs of the Zodiac and Egyptian motifs, above a central ring with three arrow backs and decorated with Egyptian hieroglyphs, with three candle-nozzles, above a glass shade

the rectangular shelf above a frieze fitted with affronted griffons at the corners flanked by atheniennes linked by floral garlands centered by cinquefoil, each swag centered by a medallion depicting Ganymede and Zeus, Hercules and the Lion, Zeus, and Hebe and the Eagle, respectively, raised on term figures cast with winged Egyptian torsos continuing to scrolling acanthus leaves entwined with ormolu serpents.

Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843)
An identical chimneypiece by Thomire was installed in the principal salon of the Empress' apartments at the Château de Compiègne, a room which was decorated by Percier and Fontaine. A console table by Thomire of virtually identical overall design is in the Louvre. It is fitted with an identical ormolu border beneath the top, identical frieze mounts, lacking the circular medallions on the present lot, and is raised upon identical term figures. Executed in thuyawood, it was one of the objects given as security by Thomire in 1807 in order to obtain a government loan. Unable to repay the loan, the table was retained by the State and placed in the appartements des Enfants de France at the Tuileries, and later in the grand salon of the Empress at Compiègne where it complemented the matching chimneypiece (see, D. Alcouffe, et al, Furniture Collections in the Louvre, Vol. I, Dijon, 1993, no. 105, pp.308-309.

Another chimneypiece with the same frieze of garlands and atheniennes was delivered by Thomire in 1804 for the salon of Prince Eugène de Beauharnais in his hôtel on the rue de Lille in Paris; this is now the German Embassy.


Jean Léonor François Comte Le Marois (1776-1836) was a trusted ally of Napoleon I for whom he acted as aide de camp and was also a witness to the marriage of Napoleon and Josephine on March 8, 1796. Noted for heroism at Austerlitz and at Iéna, it was Général le Marois who, after the campaign in Italy, was given the honor of returning to Paris with the colors seized from the enemy.

In 1806 Général Le Marois purchased an hôtel in Paris at the intersection of rue de Grammont and the Boulevard des Italiens. An inventory taken after his death mentions a number of consoles and columns executed in green granite; it does not list the chimneypieces which were considered, at the time, to be part of the building itself. Many of the decorations and fixtures in the house were moved to the Château de Lonray (Orne) where they descended in the family.


the base with ovolo border, incurved sides and paw feet, holding four winged sphinxes supporting the body partially gadrooned below a band of rosettes and above a plaque of two swans drinking from a saucer, the handles formed as female masks flanked by serpents, screw-in liner, detachable bottle holder and collar

A set of four matching ormolu wine coolers, stamped with the Latin signature of Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, was sold from the Marcos Collection, Christie's, New York, January 10, 1991, lot 53.

The Victoria and Albert Museum preserves the drawing for this model by Jean-Jacques Boileau, a French decorative painter who came to London in the late 1780s to work on the Prince of Wales' Carlton House. His designs in the Egyptian style were executed by the silversmiths of Rundell, Bridge and Rundell through the first decade of the 19th century. A pair of silver-gilt fruit coolers of this model were formerly in the Alan and Simone Hartman collection, sold Christie's, New York, October 20, 1999, lot 184.


each wearing a gilt falcon headdress surmounted by a lotus crown forming an open vessel fitted with a threaded ormolu mount over a wig of ringlets, a beaded gilt collar around her neck, tooled gilt arm-bands and a transparent kalasiris adorned at the front with a gilt rib-band suspending a long gilt panel tooled with pseudo-hieroglyphs, holding in her right hand a gilt palm frond and in her left a lotus, and standing erect on a small gilt rectangular base tooled around the sides with geometric meanders, mounted with an ormolu band around the hem and ankles. Some restoration.

These figures are modelled directly from a design, of circa 1800, by Charles Percier (1764-1838), the French architect, who with Pierre Fontaine (1762-1853) formulated the Empire style. Originally conceived as supports for an Egyptian-style console table, the design translated equally well in other mediums, and a candelabrum of this model in gilt- and black-patinated bronze by Pierre-Phillipe Thomire (1751-1843), circa 1805, is illustrated in Egyptmania, Egypt in Western Art 1730-1930, the catalogue of an exhibition at the Musée du Louvre, Paris, January 20 to April 18, 1994, p. 286, no. 167, as well as a console table, circa 1802, in the Grand Trianon at Versailles, p. 285, no.166.

A French bronze and gilt-metal adjustable fender, 19th century, in the Empire Egyptian revival style


each depicting a standing female figure with a tasselled drapery headress, the body swathed in plaited drapery with sandles on her feet, on a plinth base mounted with roundel depicting the mask of Hercules

in the form of a maiden seated on a tasselled cushion with raised hands holding a cloak and supporting candelabrum base in the form of an oil lamp, cast with acanthus, palmettes and Grecian mask and issuing three gilt nozzles, the stepped square plinth decorated with a frieze of rosettes and a caryatid cast in relief and holding flaming torches

Large Pair of French Bronze-Patinated Brass Three-Light Pharonic Appliques, of Quinquet form in the first Empire style, fourth quarter 19th century, the backplates modeled as draped three-quarter female figures in ancient Egyptian headdresses, the large candlesockets of leafed cup form resting on a basal three-quarter circular plate

PAIR OF PATINATED BRONZE FIGURES OF EGYPTIAN ARTISANS After the model by Louis Emile Picault (French. 1839-1915) Each with cast signature. Mounted on a marble base.

Bronze French Jardinere with Egyptian motif

CANDELABRA, A PAIR OF FRENCH EMPIRE REVIVAL PATINATED AND GILT BRONZE CANDELABRA 19th century. Each depicting an Egyptian figure holding two scrolling candle branches with gilt sockets and raised on gilt bronze plinths with white marble bases.

Pair of French Empire bronze sandcast candlesticks in the Egyptian taste c. 1800

Candlesticks Of French origin, early 19th Century. Seamed construction with domed, round base. Egyptian Revival details retain traces of silvering.

Fine pair of bronze French Egyptian Revival chenet having sphinx surmounts, c.1860

French Dore Metal Mantle Clock With Egyptian Motif and Jeweled Case

Egyptian Revival French Shelf Clock Circa 1870

A French Egyptian Revival Mahogany and Gilt Bronze Mounted Mantel Clock, Ballion,

having an urn form finial over the circular enameled dial with Roman numerals, the case further set with a lion mask fountain flanked by sphinxes, having time and strike movement

Clock standing classical figure beside tapered plinth with clock face below globe with four sphinx mounts, tympanum with relief plaque with classical figures, pyramids, palm trees and other Egyptian motifs, side decoration with figures worshipping sun figure with tapered serpentine base, 19th century, brass works marked "GD", with key and pendulum, French, early 19th century

Ormolu mounted Empire clock, marble with extensive Egyptianate ormolu mounts with scrolls and festoons, eagle finial flanked by two female sphinx, base with relief plaques of frolicking [putti], clock face marked "Caillouet a Paris", inside of feet marked "NH" or "HN", with key and pendulum, French, early 19th century

French Dore Shelf Clock w/Silk String Suspension: the number 567 movement is marked Medaille Dore Paris-1827. The movement is time and bell striking and has an Egyptian theme on the lower portion

Tablier sur cuir "retour d'Egypte", début du XIXe siècle.

Cut glass bowl on base with three ebonized Egyptian female standards, anthemion border, descending bellflower and petal decoration throughout, drop and base mounted blossom finial, cut glass bowl with ormolu mounted rim, probably French, 19th century

Toile de Jouy Retour d'Egypte

A pair of patinated and gilt bronze candlesticks, retour d’Egypte decoration, round base with triangular column with a gilt perched bird & deocrated candle cup,

French Empire gilded and dark patinated fender in Egyptian style, circa 1810


A GROUP OF FRENCH GILT BRONZE & LACQUERED EGYPTIAN REVIVAL CANDLE STICKS & TAZZA, 19th century. Greatest height 10 inches (25.4 cm). Later blue glass inserts.


A Directoire Painted Wood Fauteuil,

late 18th century, having upholstered back, arms and seat flanked by the splayed arms with Egyptian figural supports.

Armchair, Jacob-Desmalter, probably before 1818. Designed by Baron Dominique Vivant Denon (1747-1825) and made by Jacob-Desmalter (about 1803-18)

France Probably before 1818 Mahogany and gilded bronze

Epitomising Hope's interest in the French Empire style, this chair was designed by Denon, the collector and archaeologist who accompanied Napoleon to Egypt. Hope bought the chair as one of a pair, as part of the rather uncompromising furnishings for his Egyptian Room on the first floor at The Deepdene. 

An Imperial carved giltwood ceremonial armchair designed by Percier and Fontaine, and made by Jacob-Desmalter in 1804, commissioned for Napoleon's Throne Room at the Tuileries

An Imperial carved giltwood ceremonial armchair designed by Percier and Fontaine, and made by Jacob-Desmalter in 1804, commissioned for Napoleon's Throne Room at the Tuileries


François-Honoré Jacob (Jacob-Desmalter) : Sphinx : Marie-Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie (Joséphine de Beauharnais) : Grande console

French Empire Egyptian Coin cabinet, ca. 1809–19

Probably by François-Honoré-Georges Jacob-Desmalter (French, 1770–1841); silver mounts by Martin-Guillaume Biennais (French, 1764–1843); designed by Charles Percier (French, 1764–1838); decoration after drawings by Baron Dominique Vivant-Denon (French, 1747–1825) Mahogany, silver

Dominique Vivant-Denon was director of the Mint and of the Musée Napoleon (now the Musée du Louvre) as well as a collector and an arbiter of taste during the Napoleonic period. He accompanied the Egyptian campaign of 1798–99 as a draftsman and published his drawings as Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Égypte (1802). The pylon at Ghoos, in Upper Egypt, served as the model for the top section of this medal cabinet, which was intended for Napoleon but remained in Denon's possession. The front and back panels are inlaid with a silver scarab flanked by uraei (sacred serpents) on lotus stalks. There are twenty-two drawers on each side of the cabinet, all inlaid with a silver bee. One wing is hinged to provide a pull.

PAIR OF BERGERES 'AUX BUSTES DE SPHINGE',Empire, attributed to G. JACOB (Georges Jacob, maitre 1765), Paris circa 1810.Finely carved mahogany. Yellow silk cover with Empire pattern. Seat cushion. Gilt bronze mounts and applications


French Egyptian Revival mahogany bed, 19th c., with brass mounts.

The Sèvres Egyptian Dinner Service that forms part of the Wellington Museum at Apseley House in London, is the grandest example of French porcelain to have survived from the Empire period.

The original idea for a dinner service inspired by Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign of 1798 to 1802 came from Vivant Denon, a diplomat, courtier and artist. Inspired by his experiences of Egypt, having been part of Napoleon’s expeditionary force, and flush with the critical success of his written account of his time there, Denon suggested to the head of the Sèvres porcelain that he make a desert service and centerpiece based on Egyptian architecture. Denon was at the time in a position of some influence, having been appointed as the director of both the Musée Napoleon and the Monnaie des Medailles, thereby overseeing all aspects of the arts.

The resulting centerpiece is one of the greatest ever produced in porcelain. Stretching for over twenty two feet in length, it comprises seventeen separate units of biscuit porcelain mounted on tôle peinte in imitation of pink granite. At the centre stands the temple of Philae flanked by four obelisks. Two smaller temples, comprising elements of the great temples of Dendera and Edu, complete the central group. These are joined by two colonnades to two pylons, monumental gateways, modeled on those found at Karnak. The outer groups are comprised of four seated figures, each pair lying at the head of avenues of scared rams. The temples, pylons, obelisks and colonnades are further decorated with random hieroglyphs, as at the time they could not be read.

The centre piece was accompanied by a magnificent desert service comprising seventy two plates, twelve ‘compotiers’, four sugar pots, two jam pots, four ice buckets, four baskets and for figures carrying dishes. Each plate was hand painted with a different Egyptian scene and decorated with gilt hieroglyphics.

The completed service was gifted to Tsar Alexander I of Russia in 1808 and can still be seen today at the Ceramic Museum at Kuskovo, near Moscow.

However this was not the end of the story. Following their divorce, Napoleon had in late 1809 offered the Empress Josephine 30,000 francs of Sèvres porcelain. Having been impressed with the Egyptian service she had seen being made on a trip to the factory, she decided to order another, albeit slightly different service, for herself. The completed service was delivered in 1812, but the Empress declared herself unsatisfied and returned it to the factory.

There it remained until 1818, when the new French King Louis XVIII offered it to the Duke of Wellington as an expression of his gratitude for his restoration to the throne. The service remained in the possession of the Dukes of Wellington until 1979 when it was purchased for the nation and installed at Apseley House where it can still be seen today.

The Sèvres Egyptian Dinner Service

The Sèvres Egyptian Dinner Service


Vivant Denon's service of Sevres porcelain given by Napoleon Bonaparte to Czar Alexander ! in 1807, now in Kuskovo Palace Museum

Egyptian Revival Paris porcelain inkwell pastille burner

A pair of tall vases with gold decoration. The handles in the shape of ‘retour d’Egypte’ Sphinxes. On the trunk pictures after Charles François Grenier Lacroix de Marseille (Marseille 1700-1782 Berlin).

Depictions after paintings of Lacroix were not uncommon in the porcelain industry of Paris around 1800. ‘Porcelain de Paris’ was manufactured in over thirty factories around Paris.


A Vienna Egyptian-style cabaret circa 1802, blue shield marks, impressed date codes for 1799, 1801 and 1802, various impressed letters and numerals

Painted with rectangular gilt-edged panels of hieroglyphs in sepia on a pale-pink ground above circular medallions with figures, some named, the black band borders reserved with a band of flowerheads, the handles and rims richly gilt, comprising:

An oviform coffee-pot and cover in the form of a canopic jar, the upper part with the head and hands of an Egyptian Pharaoh, his crossed hands holding the tails of two snakes forming the handle, the domed cover with a gilt lotus flower finial (cover broken and restuck, restoration to inside rim)

A circular two-handled sugar-bowl and cover, the medallion named MICHAEL in reverse and SATOVIEL, the finial as a gilt sphinx (slight chip to rim of cover)

An oval bowl and cover, one medallion named HON PA TR/BIB flanking a bunch of grapes, with a gilt crocodile finial

Two coffee-cups and saucers, the medallion on one cup named KANOPUS and on one saucer GABRIEL, the handles formed as two snakes (chip to rim of one cup and one saucer, one saucer with slight rubbing to centre)

An oval tray with a pierced gallery formed as interlocking ribbon about a band of leaves, the centre with a circular reserve with classical figures about an Egyptian monument (approximately one third of pierced rim broken and restored)

The tray 17 in. (43.2 cm.) wide - Estimate: £8,000-12,000

Notes: A part tea and coffee-service with identical decoration was sold in these Rooms on 6th December 2004, lot 478. Another cup and saucer, most probably from the same service, is in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, and is illustrated by Sheila K. Tabakoff, The Viennese Porcelain at Palazzo Pitti (Florence, 2002), p. 172, where Tabakoff points out that the medallions depicting figures were derived from ancient amulets which were engraved and published in Bernard de Montfoucon's 1757 Griechische und Römische Altertümer. Tabakoff suggests that the hieroglyphs could have been derived from Piranesi's Diverse Manniere d'adornare I cammini ed ogni altra Parte degli Edifizi (Rome, 1769).


Sèvres. Grand vase nommé vase coupe Egyptien La Gazelle ou vase Egyptien C. Époque Louis-Philippe, année 1843.

Vase égyptien et son piédestal Vase
Manufacture des Vernis sur Métaux (rue Martel)
de 1804 à 1806

Tardieu, Jean Charles

Rest of the French army in Syena (Aswan), 2 February 1799. 1812.


Bonaparte and his chief of staff in Egypt, painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1863.

Bonaparte Before the Sphinx 1867-1868 by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904)

François Benouville, Portrait de Leconte de Floris en uniforme de l'armée égyptienne, 1840

Charles Gleyre, Le Ramesseum, Thèbes, 1840

Germann-August von Bohn, La mort de Cléopâtre, 1841

Théodore Chassériau, La mort de Cléopâtre, (fragment: tête d'une servante), ca 1845

Jean-Léon Gérôme, Vue de la plaine de Thèbes (Haute-Égypte), 1857

Carl Werner, A l'entrée du temple d'Abou-Simbel, ca. 1864

Edward Poynter, Israël en Égypte, 1867

Hans Makart, La mort de Cléopâtre, 1874/1876

Ernst Körner, Le Temple de Karnak. La grande salle hypostyle, 1890

Guérin, Pierre Narcisse

Bonaparte Pardoning the Insurgents in Cairo on the El Bekir square. 1806.

Sphinx and Oedipus 1864 Gustave Moreau

Moreau, a virtually unknown artist at the age of thirty-eight, triumphed at the Salon of 1864 with his interpretation of the myth of Oedipus and the Sphinx. This painting represents the moment when Oedipus confronts the winged monster outside Thebes and must solve her riddle to save his life as well as those of the besieged Thebans.

The work shows Moreau's awareness of Ingres's version of the subject (Musée du Louvre, Paris), painted in 1808, which Moreau had sketched. It also demonstrates his familiarity with works by the early Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna, whose paintings Moreau had studied at the Louvre. Moreau's choice of a mythological subject and his deliberately archaizing style distinguished his painting from the realist and naturalist currents of the 1860s.

Shops at the Palais-Royal ca 1798 note Egyptian style capitals  

Napoleon in Egypt ca, 1868 by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904)

Antoine-Jean Gros: First Consul Bonaparte, oil on canvas, c. 1802

Battle of the Pyramids, Francois-Louis-Joseph Watteau, 1798-1799

Battle at Nazareth 1801 oil on canvas by Antoine-Jean Gros

Bataille d´Aboukir, 25 juillet 1799, 1806

Napoleon visiting the plague victims of Jaffa, by Antoine-Jean Gros 1804

Battle of the Pyramids, July 21, 1798, ca 1810 oil on canvas by Antoine-Jean Gros

Portrait of future French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) during his Egypt campaign and the pre-consul period.

Le général Desaix en Egypte

Oedipus and the Sphinx 1808 by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres