Queen Marie-Antoinette’s service was delivered to the Versailles palace on the 2nd of January in 1782 by the Royal Sèvres Manufactory. Its gracious “Comte d’Artois” shape, enhanced by its “pearl and cornflower” decoration, is enchanting in its delicate simplicity, its decoration placement seemingly improvised.
The cornflower, a simple wild flower, was a favorite of the queen. It was the color of her eyes and she would gather them in fresh bouquets at the country retreat of her hamlet in the Petit Trianon. The restrained alignment of the strikingly realistic pearls reveals to us the sovereign’s innate penchant for luxury. The pattern of cornflowers is placed between two rows of pearls, set against a green background, and highlighted by golden filets. Looking as if they have been freshly gathered, a simple bouquet of wild cornflowers decorates the center of the plate.
Only two of the original pieces from this celebrated dinnerware service can still be found as part of French national collections: one is held by the Versailles château and the other by the Louvre Museum.