Go to main contentGo to footer

Cup with the effigy of Caroline Bonaparte Murat

Royal Factory of Naples, managed by Poulard Prad

circa 1810
Porcelain  Museum
Biscuit and gilded porcelain
h 6.7 cm
Argenti with estimate 1911 n. 1014

The unique cup with the relief portrait of Caroline Bonaparte was made by the Royal Factory of Naples during the period of the management of Giovanni Poulard Prad entrusted to him in 1807 by the French government and which he kept until 1820, despite the restoration of the Bourbons in 1815.

Particularly interesting is the representation of the face of Caroline, wife of Joachim Murat king of Naples and younger sister of Napoleon, here enhanced by a veil from which only a few strands of hair emerge. The choice of biscuit processing of the porcelain (single firing at 1,400°C) accentuates the perfection of the features and the whiteness of the satin surface, in line with the neoclassical taste of the time. The porcelain treatment of the internal surface is required to contain the coffee, which would otherwise have stained the biscuit, while the gilding accentuates the preciousness of this “chicchera”, sublimating its nature as a useful object and returning it to the value of a finished product for the court.

There is another cup with the effigy of Murat, made by the Dagoty Factory in the same years, which it probably supplied as a model to the Royal Factory of Naples. After all, during the direction of Poulard Prad the Neapolitan manufacturing warmly welcomed the influences in taste coming from French porcelain.

It is probable that the curious biscuit belonged to Elisa Baciocchi, sister of Caroline and Napoleon, who became Grand Duchess of Tuscany in 1809. Perhaps it was this cup that suggested the creation of a similar one, with the same characteristics, including the gilding inside, but with the effigy of Baciocchi, made by the Ginori Factory around 1813.

Text by
Rita Balleri
Interested in visiting Pitti Palace?
Arrange your visit to Florence, find prices and opening hours of the museum.

The Newsletter of the Uffizi Galleries

Subscribe to keep up to date!