- Paris, c. 1751–2
- Inv. 287 A/B
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 and putti, was a recurring theme in the 18th 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; Comte de Vergennes. Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian through Duveen, Paris, 24 November 1919.
Jacques Helft (ed.), Les grands orfèvres de Louis XIII à Charles X, Paris, 1965, pp. 141, 150, colourpl. 1.
Pierre Verlet, Objets d’art français de la Collection Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbonne, 1969, n.p., no. 11.
Maria Teresa Gomes Ferreira, 'L’Argenterie Gulbenkian', Connaissance des Arts, December 1970, pp. 106–16.
Louis XV. Un moment de Perfection de l’art Français, exhibition catalogue. Paris: Hôtel de la Monnaie, 1974, p. 349, no. 465.
Rona Goffen (ed.), Museums Discovered. The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Woodbine Books, 1995, p. 93.
New York 1999
Katharine Baetjer and James David Draper (eds.), 'Only the Best'. Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, exhibition catalogue. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999, p. 116, cat. 54.
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum. Lisbon: Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, 2001, p. 128, car. 102.
Madame de Pompadour et les Arts, exhibition catalogue. Versailles: Château de Versailles, p. 361, no. 154.