Saint Cloud porcelain for auction: A case of 'sour grapes'?

Published 23rd January 2013

Established in 1664 to make faience and imitate porcelain – it seems rather successfully to have managed the latter. In 1697 Haudicquer de Blancourt wrote ‘the best porcelain comes from China, the best imitation of this porcelain is presently being made in Saint Cloud’.

 a saint cloud porcelain trembleuse circa 1740

A Saint Cloud porcelain trembleuse circa 1740 (FS17/133)

Saint Cloud was awarded a fifteen year Royal Privilege to produce porcelain (which was latterly extended twice) in 1697. There can be no doubt that Saint Cloud eventually made the real thing (very similar in appearance to Blanc de Chine of Dehua) the soft paste evidence is there to be seen, but when did this transition from faience, to ‘looky likey’ to porcelain occur?

 a saint cloud cup circa 1740 displaying typical blanc de chine appearance

A Saint Cloud cup circa 1740 displaying typical Blanc de Chine appearance (FS17/130)

Tschirnhaus visited in 1702 and purchased several pieces of ‘porcelain’ which according to him ‘fell apart by themselves’. If it was porcelain it wasn’t particularly stable and Meissen’s crown remains intact, if it was then his comments are ‘sour grapes’. Certainly by 1722 several pieces of blue and white decorated porcelain are recorded as being in the collection of Augustus the Strong. Maybe I am wrong, but there doesn’t seem to be a recorded eureka moment, but perhaps just like everyone else Saint Cloud worked hard to keep the secret.


saint cloud porcelain snuff boxes, both devoid mounts and covers circa 1730-40

Saint Cloud snuff boxes, both devoid mounts and covers circa 1730-40 (FS17/132)

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