Rare cup and saucer, “triboulette” 4th size, Service du Duc d’Orléans

Soft paste porcelain of Tournai, circa 1787

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Superb goblet litron and its saucer known as “Triboulette” of the 4th size with round handle in soft paste porcelain of the manufacture of Tournai. Royal blue band decorated with golden scrolls and medallions decorated with insects and butterflies. On the cup, a cartouche with a small bird named in black on the back of the cup, “female of the Mozambique Serin”. The saucer is also decorated on the wing with a blue band with gold scrolls and three medallions with butterflies. In the center is a representation of a toucan, titled on the back as ‘Green Toucan, from Brazil’.

This cup was mainly used for tea but was also used for coffee and chocolate.

Size: H cup 4,3 cm – diameter saucer: 10,5 cm

Cup from the service of the Duke of Orleans, circa 1787.


Similar cups in the Royal and History Museums in Brussels, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Royal Collections in Windsor and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Tournai and the Royal Museum in Mariemont.

Lit : This important “birds of Buffon” service of more than 1,593 pieces was ordered by the Duke of Orleans (1747-1793) from the Manufacture de Tournai in 1787, and was destined for his residence at the Palais-Royal in Paris. This service exceeded in number of pieces, the service of Catherine II of Russia and the service of King Louis XVI.

Louis-Philippe d’Orléans, a flamboyant and whimsical character, led a high lifestyle and debauchery, opposed the royal power of Louis XV and Louis XVI and attracted the enmity of Marie-Antoinette. He ended up voting for the death of King Louis XVI, influenced by the reformist ideas of Madame de Genlis and Choderlos de Laclos. Fond of ornithological works and BUFFON’s natural history of birds, he ordered an impressive bird service from the Tournai factory, consisting of numerous pieces for the dinner table and for serving hot drinks, as well as pieces for the living room and the bedroom.

The financial situation of the duke of Orleans in 1787 had become precarious, following the setbacks of his real estate investments, and his treasurer advised him to reduce his household expenses. The price as well as the delivery times were determining factors in the choice of Tournai over the Sèvres factory, the quality provided by the Tournai factory being of the same level.

The spirit of that time presides over the composition of this service, with the use of gold “rinceaux” and the bands in royal blue, under the directorship of the painter JOSEPH MAYEUR.

The service was not completely delivered in 1791, following the political unrest of the French revolution, and it led to a financial disaster for the manufactory. In 1798 the director PETERINCK asked for help from the city.

After the Revolution the service was dispersed, a large part of the service of the Duke of Orleans (594 pieces) was bought in 1803 and 1806 by the Prince of Wales through the intermediary of the dealer Robert Fogg. Today, 565 porcelains from the service are still in the English royal collection at Windsor Castle, the 29 missing pieces having probably been donated by the British Crown.

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