Jean-Baptiste Isabey

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Jean-Baptiste Isabey
September (Ensemencement)
Brown ink and wash over graphite on paper.
2 11/16 x 3 1/2 inches (68 x 89 mm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton Robinson, Jr., 2009.

In 1817, at the behest of Alexandre Brongniart (1770-1847), the administrator of the Sevres porcelain factory, Jean-Baptiste Isabey completed the decoration of the six cups and plates of a Sevres breakfast service commissioned by Louis XVIII (1755-1824). The 12 drawings in the Morgan's collection (2009.410:1-12) represent the designs for the pieces, which were painted with 12 different scenes in sepia, each representing a month, and a two-hour period of the day, in the life of a "country man," or farmer. Starting with the month of January and the hours 11 pm to 1 am, and working around the calendar and the clock to December and the hours of 9 pm to 11 pm, Isabey painted scenes of Sleep, Threshing in the Barn, Stable Chores (or Care of the Stable Animals), Livestock Heading to the Fields, Procession of Rogations, The Market, Haymaking, The Harvest, Sowing, Pressing [of grapes], Supper at the Farm, and Vigil in the Stable.The serving pieces in this set, a coffee pot, a creamer, and a sugar pot, were painted by Jean Charles Develly (1783-c.1849), one of the most renowned painters working for the Sevres factory in the nineteenth century, after watercolor designs by Isabey.
Although Callimaki (Basily-Callimaki, 1909), following earlier sources, suggests the service was a gift from the king to the Countess d'Artois, her death in 1805, and her sister's death in 1810, make this impossible given the production date. If the service was indeed intended as a gift in 1818, perhaps it was for Marie Caroline of Bourbon, Duchess of Berry, known as Madame de Berry, who married the Count d'Artois's son, Charles Ferdinand d'Artois, Duc de Berry, in 1816, and who later was a patron of the Sevres manufactory. Alexandre Brongniart also proposed a second breakfast service that would be decorated with twelve subjects from the life of a man of the world. This second set was never executed.

Agnew's, inventory number DB5018; Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton Robinson, Jr.
Associated names: 

Robinson, Hamilton, former owner.
Robinson, Hamilton, Mrs., former owner.


Basily-Callimaki, Eva de, J.-B. Isabey : sa vie, son temps, 1767-1855, suivi du Catalogue de l'œuvre gravée par et d'après Isabey, Paris : Frazier-Soye, 1909.

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