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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

French, established 1738
Plate from the Service Arabesque
Soft-paste porcelain

15/16 x 9 3/8 x 9 3/8 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Rienzi Collection, gift of Carol C. Ballard, Rose and Harry H. Cullen, Isla and Tommy Reckling, Jas A. Gundry, Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Hudson, Jr., Mrs. Thomas W. Blake, Mr. and Mrs. Rodney H. Margolis, Mr. and Mrs. David Beveridge, Harriett S. Goodman, Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff, and Maria Burke Butler, with additional funds provided by Mr. and Mrs. Harris Masterson III, by exchange

Arts of Europe

In 1782, Louis XVI commissioned from the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory the last of three royal services, for use at the Château de Versailles. By the time of the French Revolution, more than 100 pieces had been completed.

The service was in the fashionable Neoclassical taste, complete with arabesque decoration based on details from frescoes in the Vatican by Raphael. Because of the innovative nature of the service, with unusual new shapes and unique painting to each piece, production at Sèvres moved slowly. Although the service was never completed amidst the turmoil of the French Revolution, in 1795 the existing pieces, which included 51 plates, were given to the Prussian foreign minister. This plate is one of only five from the original 51 known to have survived.