Le cabinet de porcelaine exhibits flowers that do not wither. In small terracotta pots or old-fashioned jardinières, their thin metallic stems stand up, bow graciously or rise assertively in the case of tulips.

These are the works of two porcelain artists, Didier Gardillou and Samuel Mazy – the master and his pupil – who have revived the antique craft of the porcelain florist. This art appeared in the course of the 1740s at the manufactory of Vincennes, which in time would move and become the royal manufactory of Sèvres.

During the years 1745-1755, the only profitable production was indeed the flowers, which were arranged in vases created by the best manufactory in the world. At that time, the only fresh flowers to be found in townhouses were flower bulbs. It was in porcelain that the first real bouquets, as we understand them today, were created (paintings representing bouquets were in fact moralising still-lives in which each flower embodied a virtue).

The unexpected always happens and here we are delighted in front of these flowers, these bouquets, these chandeliers in blossom, these vegetable still-lives that compete with a past we thought forever gone. Both artists have a different style. From the master are the most accomplished trompe-l’oeil, from the pupil the most poetic creations... (if there is a particular commission you have in mind for him, you can try your luck: he enjoys challenges!).

Le cabinet de porcelaine is located on the Left Bank, in the heart of the Paris antique dealers district: it easily bears comparison with its 18th century models and it is difficult to leave without some flowers in your hand!

Antoinette Faÿ-Hallé
Conservateur général du patrimoine
Former Director of the national museum of ceramics, Sèvres