top of page

Egyptian Tea-Service


Imperial manufactory of porcelain

Hard-paste porcelain, enamels and gold

Circa 1810-1812


Gifted on the occasion of New Year 1813 by the Emperor to the Duchess of Montebello, widow of Marshal Jean Lannes.

Private collection, France.

Twinight collection, New York.

Musée Napoléon, Fontainebleau


This déjeuner appears in the Sèvres sales ledgers as "déjeuner vues d’Egypte coloriées à fond beau bleu" comprising six tasses litron, a sugar "Egyptien", a milk pot "Etrusque", a teapot "Egyptienne", and a fruit bowl "Egyptien". 

The landscapes and hieroglyphic motifs are inspired after etchings from the illustrated book "Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte" created by the baron Dominique Vivant Denon during the scientific expedition linked to Napoléon’s Egyptian Campaign. 


The making of this déjeuner, beginning in 1810, took over 2 years before it was delivered on the 28 of December, 1812 (for the price of 2,030 francs) to la duchesse de Montebello, lady in waiting to the empress Marie Louise, as a New Year’s gift. 


Only seven “Déjeuner Egyptien” were produced at the Sèvres factory during the Premier Empire, of which this one is the fifth example: the first one made in 1808 was offered to Tsar Alexandre I of Russia (Ceramic Museum in Kouskovo), the second one was given by Bonaparte to Joséphine in 1809 as a New Year’s gift (now at Malmaison), the third one was also delivered to Joséphine in 1811 (a part of the service is held at Fondation Napoléon, Paris). 


This one is of particular interest for the modernity of the pièce de forme mixing Etruscan shapes with Egyptian forms, also inspired by Dominique Vivant Denon’s illustrated book. The best craftsmen of the Sèvres factory were involved in creating this service: the landscape painter Lebel, the animal painter Caron, and the gilder Buteaux and Micaux. 



This sumptuous present is a reflection of the Emperor’s esteem for an important member of the Imperial court: the widow of one of his best Marshals of the Empire. 

Widow of Empire Jean Lannes (1769-1809), duke of Montebello, the duchess received many sumptuous gifts from the Emperor as thanks for her late husband’s great commitment to the armée impériale, who distinguished himself during the Egyptian campaign.  After his death in 1809, his widow was appointed first lady in waiting to the Impress Marie-Louise. 

bottom of page