Sèvres ware, porcelain made in France by the royal (now national) potteries established (1745) by Louis XV at Vincennes, moved (1756) to Sèvres after changing hands. Before 1770 it was a soft-paste porcelain ( pâte tendre ), of underglaze decoration and alkaline glaze; subsequently it was a hard infusible porcelain, made of kaolin, with a feldspar glaze and an overglaze decoration. Delicacy and perfection of technique are dominant characteristics. Tableware shows flower and figure subjects on a white ground; clocks, vases, and plaques display panels or medallions on white with figures enclosed by ornate gold frames, the main ground being a brilliant color. Sometimes a diaper design in gold enriches the background. Generally the pattern of Sèvres ware followed the styles from the period of Louis XV through those of the 19th cent. In 1876 the factory was moved to new buildings near Saint-Cloud and is still in operation. Soft-paste porcelain was revived, and many new wares were introduced.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.