SÈVRES Rare dessert plate from the Emperor's private service, called service des quartiers généraux, representing in the center the feast on Mount St. Bernard on the occasion of the funeral of General Desaix, showing officers gathered on the snowy mountain, some descending on sledges, the wing with a green chromium background decorated in gold with a frieze of swords linked by a garland of laurel leaves and alternating with stars The scene signed Swebach in the lower center. Marks on the reverse: the mark of the imperial manufacture of Sevres erased and replaced by the figure of Louis XVIII, two engraved interlaced Ls highlighted in black, n° 42 engraved and highlighted in black. Mark in hollow D C. Painted by Jacques François Joseph Swebach (1769-1823) in July 1808. Empire period, year 1808. Taken by Napoleon during his exile in Saint Helena. D. 23,2 cm. A small chip restored on the edge. On the back, a label : Nicolier collection.
Private service of the Emperor Napoleon I, delivered to the Tuileries Palace on 27 April 1810.
Taken by the Emperor Napoleon I to St. Helena.
THE EMPEROR'S PRIVATE SERVICE
In October 1807, Emperor Napoleon I ordered a new service from the Sèvres factory to replace the Olympic service he had just given to Tsar Alexander I.
This service, named service particulier de l'Empereur or later Service des Quartiers Générauxwas delivered on April 27, 1810 to the Tuileries Palace, just in time to be included on the banquet table of the wedding with Marie-Louise on April 2, 1810.
The service consisted of an entrée service and a dessert service accompanied by a large biscuit set of twenty-five sculptures and an Egyptian cabaret of twenty-nine pieces, all for the considerable sum of 69,549 francs. A painting by Alexandre Dufay, known as Casanova, now preserved at the Château de Fontainebleau, illustrates the wedding banquet where the following are represented around the service Grand Vermeil service of the Emperor, several elements of the biscuit service.
The service included 72 painted dessert plates, 24 soup plates and 24 dessert plates called plates to be assembled with edge only.
For the painted plates, Napoleon's instruction transmitted by Daru to Brongniart is as follows: that among these drawings, there should be no battles or names of men but that, on the contrary, the subjects should offer only very indirect allusions that awaken pleasant memories.
At the time of the first Restoration in 1814, the seventy-two plates kept at the Tuileries were sent to the Sèvres factory to have the mark of the first Empire ground off and replaced by the two interlaced Ls engraved in black, the figure of Louis XVIII. Each plate is then also numbered in black. Napoleon found his service during the Hundred Days and after Waterloo, in June 1815, Fouché authorised him to take sixty plates to St Helena. Napoleon did not use this service for fear that it would be broken. He offered two plates at the time of the 1817 New Year's gift, one to Mme Bertrand, the other to Mme de Montholon. Ali notes in his comments: "At dinner, [the Emperor] amused himself by looking at the paintings on the plates of the beautiful Sèvres porcelain service. It should be noted that under these plates, the Bourbons had had the figure of Louis XVIII engraved with opposite L's". In his will, Napoleon asked Count Montholon to keep the plates and to give them to the Duke of Reichstatd when he turned sixteen. The Viennese court refused this bequest and Montholon kept the plates and distributed them.
Twenty-three plates from the Emperor's private service are now kept at the Château de Fontainebleau, nineteen at the Fondation Napoléon, three at the Château de la Malmaison, three at the Musée Royal de l'Armée in Brussels, two at the Musée de Sèvres, one at the Musée du Louvre, and a few others in private collections (see Osenat sales, Fontainebleau, November 16, 2014, lot 129; February 2, 2017, lot 210; May 5, 2021, lot 220).
See Bernard Chevallier, <em style="color: blac