• Paris, ca. 1751-52 
  • Silver 
  • Inv. 287 A/B
  • Decorative Arts

Pair of mustard pots

Antoine-Sébastien Durand

Paris, ca. 1751-52 

This pair of mustard pots in the form of small boys pushing wheelbarrows containing barrels was executed for Madame de Pompadour, probably after a model by Falconet. The barrels, supported by spread eagles, were designed to hold mustard and are each equipped with a spoon. The two marching figures, draped in loincloths are carrying a quiver with arrows on their shoulders, in a clear allusion to cupid, the god of love. The original leather case containing the pieces has been preserved. It is embossed with the coat-of-arms of the favourite of Louis XV and was the work of the famous bookbinder, Antoine Padeloup.

A representation of childhood, in the form of cupid andputti, was a recurring theme in the eighteenth century. They are to be found individually or in groups, carrying out a variety of tasks or, simply, playing, as decorative elements, in practically all artistic manifestations of the time.


Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson Le Normand d’Étoilles, Marquise de Pompadour (d. 1764); Comte de Vergennes; Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Duveen, Paris, November 24th, 1919.

H. 17.4 x W. 23 x D. 8.5 cm (each); 1.30 kg 

Helft 1965

Jacques Helft (ed.) – Les grands orfèvres de Louis XIII à Charles X, Paris, 1965, p. 150 and p. 141, colourpl. 1

Verlet 1969

Pierre Verlet – Objets d’art français de la Collection Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbonne, 1969, n.p., no. 11, pls.

Ferreira 1970

Maria Teresa Gomes Ferreira – “L’Argenterie Gulbenkian”, in:Connaissance des arts, December 1970, pp. 106-116  Paris 1974 Louis XV. Un moment de Perfection de l’art Français, exhibition catalogue, Paris (Hôtel de la Monnaie), 1974, p. 349, no. 465, colourpl.

Goffen 1995

Rona Goffen (ed.) – Museums discovered: The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 1995, p. 93, colourpl.

New York 1999

“Only the Best”. Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, exhibition catalogue, Katharine Baetjer e James David Draper (eds.) – New York (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), 1999, p. 116, no. 54, colourpl.

Lisbon 2001

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum – Album, Lisbon, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2001, p. 128, no. 102, colourpl.

Versailles 2002

Madame de Pompadour et les Arts, exhibition catalogue, (Château de Versailles), Paris, RMN, p. 361, no. 154, colourpl.