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Binoche et Giquello to offer August III's chocolate set at Drouot in Paris
Meissen Porcelain Manufactory. Chocolate cup, circa 1737. Estimate: €8,000-12, 000 © Binoche-Giquello/Drouot

PARIS.- On Wednesday 6 June, a part of king of Poland and Elector of Saxony August III’s chocolate set, offered to the Queen of France Maria Leszczynska, will be offered by auction house Binoche et Giquello at Drouot. The Palace of Versailles had acquired eight other pieces from this set at auction in 2017. It illustrates the taste of Louis XV’s wife for Meissen porcelain and recalls the sensitive French-Polish diplomacy from this period. The overall estimate is €45,000-60,000.

The production of Meissen Porcelain Manufactory is the most famous among porcelain of Saxony. Imported from China in Occident since the 15th century, the fabrication secret of this white, translucent and delicate ceramic is only discovered in 1709 by alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger, soon after the discovery of the first kaolin deposit close to the city of Meissen which is the row material of porcelain.

When the Queen’s set is executed, the establishment is at its climax. It is directed by Count von Brühm, the Elector of Saxony’s prime minister. Numerous diplomatic gifts addressed to European royal courts (of Austria, Denmark, France, Naples, Venice) were executed there.

It appears that Maria Leszczynska particularly enjoyed this porcelain. Her estate’s inventory listed after her death mentions around 20 figures and sculpted groups and over 15 ornamental vases among other pieces.

This set offered by August III to the Queen of France originally included 56 pieces kept in a red leather and golden motives box: 12 tea cups, 12 chocolate cups and their saucers, a wide rinsing bowl, a chocolate pot, a milk pot, two teacups, a teacup base, a sugar box and a tea box. All of it carries the Queen’s French and Polish coat of arms. They are abundantly gilded and decorated with military, marine or Chinese-inspired scenes. A seaside landscape with sailors and dealers are drawn all around the pieces featured at auction; a milk pot, two cups and their saucers and a single saucer.

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