Standing cup with cover (vase couty or coupe couty)

Factory: Sèvres Manufactory (French, 1740–present)

Modeler: Edme Couty

Decorator: Decoration possibly by François Hallion (active 1866–96)

Date: 1879

Culture: French, Sèvres

Medium: Hard-paste porcelain

Dimensions: Height (with cover): 19 3/8 in. (49.2 cm)

Classification: Ceramics-Porcelain

Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Gifts, 1990

Accession Number: 1990.238a, b


At the end of the nineteenth century, convinced that ornament should be appropriate to form and material, advocates of modernism criticized revivalist pottery as uninspired and pretentious. Imitation and love of display were cited as roadblocks to progress in the potter’s art. Made in a Renaissance-revival style, this cup was an official presentation piece for the winner of first prize at the Exposition Universelle of 1878. Of the disdained French national manufactory at Sèvres, one critic wrote, "The colors are insipid and often vulgar; the decoration rarely quits the beaten track of the usual Sèvres flower and figure subjects. Sèvres is lingering in the traditions of [the past]. It remains deaf to the fame of living and modern art."