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Muville Signed Serving Tray, Faux Vincennes Cipher

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Decorative Art: Ceramics: French: Porcelain: Pre 1940: item # 1157902

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Muville Signed Serving Tray, Faux Vincennes Cipher
This footed French serving tray is heavily decorated with gold fading into apple green down to white ground. Centered on the tray under the gilded Rococo handle is a typical 18th Century bucolic landscape decoration. It has minute figures of women at a picnic in the foreground and a distant mountain chateau with dark clouds and craggy rock textures. The painting, over glazed enamel, is signed by Muville. He is known to have painted for some Limoges ceramic manufacturers like Lazeyras, Rosenfeld and Lehman, R.W. Levy and Co. during the 1920's.[36, 3rd Edition] His half dozen examples in this reference are garden, courtship and party scenes of men and women in 18th Century dress done on plaques. This type of ornamentation was illustrated in late 18th Century portfolios for artists to use in porcelain decorations.[167A] Gold relief in two shades outline the tray between the apple green shading and the white ground with vines, leaves and flowers. The landscape is painted as the typical mid-18th Century charming vignettes that seem to float lightly upon the surface of the sparkling white porcelain. One would find such a painting on Vincennes pate tendre about 1755.[183B, 85BB] However, this tray was not manufactured in Vincennes in the mid-18th Century as the outward decor and the faux Vincennes cipher with interior 'A' on the bottom shows year 1753.[183C] The tray is made of translucent pate dure, a true hard paste porcelain with a hardness of 7 on Mohs scale. This was not made in France until about 1780 with the discovery of kaolin near Limoges[183D]; and not in Sevres general manufactory until the 19th Century. Sevres was slow to stop producing its very popular and beautiful pate tendre and produced both soft and hard paste into the 19th Century.[184E] The ruse does not distract from the hand painting and hand modeling of the French serving tray. It still shows fine French porcelain work could imitate earlier fine Sevres ceramics. We could think of the faux cipher as a 'commemorative mark'; and that this early 20th Century work[49F, 22G] is following a worthy standard which should be copied, as our Far Eastern artist friends have done for thousands of years. The gilding is worn, probably on purpose, and we believe the age is around 1920's based on the artist. References available upon request. Size: ~ 3" H to top of handle x 6 3/4" x 12"; Weight: ~ 612 grams; Hardness: 7 Mohs scale

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