These plates belong to a service carried out by
the Manufacture of Sevres called “Purple : landscapes, fables and views
of imperial palaces, for Lord Archchancellor”. This service was
delivered in the name of the Emperor in August 1807: it was one of numerous gifts distributed by Napoleon
on the occasion of the marriage of
Stéphanie de Beauharnais (emperor's niece and adopted daughter) to the prince
Jacques François Joseph
Swebach N°51 : Remainders of some ancient Tombs in Syracuse. The
Logger and Death.
(Year XIV - 1806)
Alloted to Nicolas-Antoine Lebel
N°65 : View of an Inn in Valmantone.
18 Milles from Rome.
(Year XIV - 1806)
Jacques François Joseph Swebach N°9 : Waterfalls of St-Cosemate.
The fisherman and the fish.
N°7 : View of the Arc of Trajan in Bénévent.
In 1805, the manufacture of Sevres
begins the realization of a service called “Seen of Italy”. This service is
ordered by the Emperor to offer it to Cambaceres. The realization of the
first 72 plates and the dishes of service finishes at the summer 1807.
Several modifications intervene during the realization: it is decided to
associate with the views of Italy, of the views of the imperial palaces as
well as illustrations of the fables of Esope. Lastly, Cambaceres wishes to
order 24 additional plates.
All the plates are decorated with
an purple edge and gilded palmettes. The dishes of service take again the
same illustrations that the plates, but are decorated with a light blue edge
with gilded insects : it's probably about the heraldic attribute of the
great-dignitaries of the Empire (see Blazon).
The Manufacture of Sevres delivers the service in August 1807; the 24
additional plates are delivered on December 31, 1807 with a bust of the
Emperor and a vase illustrating the marriage of Stéphanie de Beauharnais
In 1805, Brongniart, director of
Manufacture, present an estimate estimating the cost of each plate at 114
francs. The real costs are a little higher. Thus the painters are paid
between 30 francs and 120 francs per part and gilders 8 francs per part. In
1807, Manufacture invoices 140 francs per plate. One can thus estimate the
cost of the services offered to Cambaceres at 13.500 francs, except dishes
of service (as comparison the annual wages of a Parisian workman are
The plates represented above
belong to the collection Alexandre and Élaine de Bothuri Bàthory. I thank
them to have allowed me to reproduce these plates on my website.
THE COFFEE SERVICE
This service with silver coffee (or vermeil) is not
Empire style. Cambaceres re-used the old service coming from a
Protestant aunt on whom he makes engrave his armorial bearings.
Perhaps is this Marie Barbe of which it already took again the