The Léon Courtin-Marcelle Bouché Fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, has purchased during the BRAFA two remarkable 18th century cabaret trays in Tournai porcelain. The oval trays were used to present a small coffee or tea service for one or two people.
The first of the two is striking because of the quality of the gold rocaille ornamentation which surrounds a finely painted polychrome scene of an interior. The decor on this tray is highly original. The scene shows a doctor visiting a bed-ridden patient, who could be a new mother. A couple is also paying a visit. Great care has been taken to faithfully represent the interior of the residence. Such an intimate composition is extremely rare in the repertoire of Tournai porcelain: only a teapot and a few boxes are known with the same type of decor. The beauty of the golden garlands that frame the tray and the clarity of the scene are reminiscent of Sèvres porcelain. Give the quality of the gold and artwork that make it a veritable little painting, this tray can be dated as coming from the end of the second period of Tournai porcelain manufacture (c. 1774), during which time François-Joseph Peterinck was the director.
The second tray represents delicate bouquets of polychrome flowers, a theme that was favoured in Tournai porcelain throughout the 18th century. The tray was part of a service that can be dated as from the early second period, around 1765.
The trays have been entrusted to the Musée de Mariemont, where they will be exhibited together with the exceptional soup tureen bearing the coat of arms of William Mercer of Aldie and dating from the same period, which the Heritage Fund was able to acquire in 2006.