Six-part folding screen

Savonnerie factory
ca. 1735-1740
Inv. CAM 141
© Les Arts Décoratifs

Both sides of each part of the screen feature a polychrome decoration on a red ground. On ten of the panels, a decoration of birds and flowers is framed by flowered trellises or palm leaves and rocaille elements; on the other two, monkeys dressed as humans (“singeries”) are framed by bat-wings and rocaille motifs. The panels are mounted on red velvet with a double row of gilt nails. The Savonnerie factory began to produce folding screen leaves in 1707. François Desportes created the designs for the leaves with animal subjects that were sometimes inspired by Aesop’s fables. The six sketches are held by the archives of the Sèvres factory. The screen belonged to the descendants of the Duvivier family who ran the factory in the eighteenth century; it is unusual in that it represents the original screen arrangement with the panels placed back to back, while later screens had crimson damask backs.

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