Egg-and-snake teapot

Royal Sèvres factory, 1833
Hard-paste porcelain, polychrome and gold decoration
19 x 18 x 10 cm
Gift of Jules Audéoud, 1885
Inv. 2644
© Les Arts Décoratifs

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A taste for exotic drinks emerged in the eighteenth century. Artists used tea, coffee and hot chocolate pots to develop a repertory of images inspired by a natural world that was still unfamiliar to Europeans. Spouts and handles often took the form of real or imaginary animals.

The service to which this teapot belonged featured pieces whose decoration alluded to the origin of each foodstuff: a creamer with a cow’s head; a pineapple-shaped sugar bowl; a flower-shaped tisane cup; a chocolate cup with the same motif as the teapot. The snake on this teapot evokes Asia, where the tea came from. Created at the Sèvres factory in 1808, this design continued to be produced in small numbers until 1833. This particular one was purchased by King Louis-Philippe’s son the Duc d’Orléans, who was a great collector.

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