Created in 1793 by the Sèvres Manufactory, this service was inspired by the illustrations found in «L’Histoire naturelle des oiseaux» (The Natural History of Birds) by Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1707 – 1788), a naturalist, mathematician, biologist, cosmologist, and French writer from the 18th century. As steward of the King’s private natural history collection, he devoted his life to the study of nature, and his ten volumes of «L’Histoire naturelle» have been an invaluable asset to French scientists.
Amongst the 1008 illustrations from the book, this service represents examples with the most fantastic plumage and striking colours.
The shape of this superb service is characteristic of the Empire style: the coffee pot with its recessed lid, the twin-ringed sugar bowl, and the creamer, which is a diminutive version of an Etruscan hanap, or goblet. The black border design stands out strikingly from the yellow rim that shows to advantage these creatures from around the world.
The original pieces of this dinnerware service are proudly displayed at the Buffon Museum located in Montbard, France.