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A pair of Sèvres plates from the 'Service Iconographique Grec', 1812. photo courtesy Sotheby's

similarly decorated to the preceding with a portrait of BIAS, titled twice, or CATO LE CENSEUR, the first with interlaced L's above script Sèvres and interlaced L's enclosing a fleur-de-lis and Sèvres marks in blue enamel, 10.ou.12 painted in green and incised script dz and T, the second with partially effaced M. Imple de Sevres mark and 1812 printed in red, 25.ot painted in green and incised script DC, both with various letters and numerals in gold; diameter 23.8 cm. Est. 12,000—18,000 USD. Lot Sold 53,125 USD

PROVENANCE: The collection of the Comtesse de Nadaillac (?)
James B. Pooley, Philadelphia, 1888
The collection of William Weightman, "Ravenhill", Germantown, Philadelphia
By direct descent to the present owner

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A Sèvres plate from the 'Service Iconographique Grec', 1812. photo courtesy Sotheby's

similarly decorated to the preceding but with a portrait ANTINOÜS titled twice, partially effaced M. Imple de Sevres mark and 1812 printed in red, 25.ot painted in green, various letters and numerals in gold, incised script DC and numeral 10. Diameter 23.8 cm. Est. 8,000—12,000 USD. Lot Sold 21,250 USD

PROVENANCE: The collection of the Comtesse de Nadaillac (?)
James B. Pooley, Philadelphia, 1888
The collection of William Weightman, "Ravenhill", Germantown, Philadelphia
By direct descent to the present owner

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A Sèvres plate from the 'Service Iconographique Grec', 1812. photo courtesy Sotheby's

similarly decorated to the preceding but with a portrait titled ALCÉE, inlerlaced L's enclosing a fleur-de-lis mark printed in blue, 10.Oct.12 painted in green, various letters and numerals in gold, incised script T and numeral 10. Diameter 23.8 cm. Est. 8,000—12,000 USD. Lot Sold 20,000 USD

PROVENANCE: The collection of the Comtesse de Nadaillac (?)
James B. Pooley, Philadelphia, 1888
The collection of William Weightman, "Ravenhill", Germantown, Philadelphia
By direct descent to the present owner

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A Sèvres plate from the 'Service Iconographique Grec', 1812. photo courtesy Sotheby's

the center painted with a 'cameo' portrait titled APOLLON within a gilt-edged roundel, the rim with a bleu lapisse en or ground, partially effaced M. Imple de Sevres mark and 1812 printed in red, 15.j.11 painted in green, various letters and numerals in gold, incised script T and S. Diameter 23.2 cm. Est. 8,000—12,000 USD. Lot Sold 16,250USD

PROVENANCE: The collection of the Comtesse de Nadaillac (?)
James B. Pooley, Philadelphia, 1888
The collection of William Weightman, "Ravenhill", Germantown, Philadelphia
By direct descent to the present owner

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A Sèvres plate from the 'Service Iconographique Grec', 1812. photo courtesy Sotheby's

similarly decorated to the preceding but with a portrait titled ARIANE, partially effaced M. Imple de Sevres mark and 1812 printed in red, 28.j.V painted in green, various letters and numerals in gold, incised script t and S. Diameter 23.8 cm. Est. 8,000—12,000 USD. Lot Sold 12,500USD

PROVENANCE: The collection of the Comtesse de Nadaillac (?)
James B. Pooley, Philadelphia, 1888
The collection of William Weightman, "Ravenhill", Germantown, Philadelphia
By direct descent to the present owner

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photo courtesy Sotheby's

NOTE: The 'Service Iconographique Grec' is arguably the most lavish and aesthetically successful of all the early 19th Century services produced at Sèvres. It was produced as two identical dessert services: the first completed was completed in 1811 and presented on July 13th of that year to Cardinal Fesch on the occasion of the baptism of the King of Rome (Napoléon II. son of Napoléon I and Marie-Louise). Referred to as the 'Service à Camées', its 82 component pieces are discussed by Pierre Verlet, Les Grands Services de Sèvres, the catalogue of a 1951 exhibition at the Musée National de Céramique, Sèvres, p. 48, no. 23.

The second service, to which the present group of four plates belong, was produced between 1812 and 1817, and was named after its principal source of decoration: the Iconographique ancienne ou recueil des portraits authentique des empereurs, rois et hommes illustres de l'Antiquité by Ennio Quirino Visconti (1751-1818). Originally conceived as a dinner and dessert service, the estimated expense of such an undertaking reduced the final number of pieces produced to 122 dessert wares, of which seventy-two were cameo-decorated plates. The service was entered into the factory's saleroom register on May19th, 1817 but was displayed In the Sèvres annual exhibition at the Louvre in January of 1818, and it was not until September of 1819 that the service actually left the factory's stock, when it was delivered to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for presentation to Pope Pius VII.

It is not known when, how or why the 'Service Iconographique Grec' left the papal collections, but by 1888 over half of the service had been transported to Philadelphia and was being offered for sale at the Walnut Street shop of James B. Pooley. That same year 66 pieces of the service were purchased from Mr. Pooley by Mr. William Weightman of Philadelphia, for which $5,000 was received as full payment.

William Weightman had emigrated from England to Philadelphia as a young chemist and founded the chemical company of Powers and Weightman, which became the leading producer of quinine, and made Weightman one of the wealthiest men in Philadelphia by the end of the 19th Century. He accumulated vast real estate holdings, and built on School Lane in Germantown his grand house "Ravenhill" (which eventually became a Catholic girls' school, and in 1982 part of the campus of the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Sciences, presently known as Philadelphia University). After his death in 1904, Weightman's business merged to become Powers, Weightman and Rosengarten, which in 1927 merged again with Merck and Co., today one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies. William Weightman outlived his two sons and nearly all of his estate (estimated at $60 million) devolved upon his daughter.

The cherished Sèvres service remained in the family for the most part until the present generation, from whom portions have become disseminated. Among these pieces one fruit cooler and one plate were purchased for the collection of the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff; the other cooler and nine plates were acquired in 1988 by the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin; and a plate depicting a portrait of Thalès is in the Musée National de Ceramiique at Sèvres.

A plate depicting Pericles, formerly in the Weightman Collection was sold in these rooms on October 11, 1995, lot 320; and a further eighteen plates and a covered sucrier and stand from the collection of William Weightman's great-granddaughter were sold also in these rooms on October 15, 1996, lots

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photo courtesy Sotheby's

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photo courtesy Sotheby's

Sotheby's. Important French Furniture, Ceramics and Carpets including Property from the Estate of Mrs. Robert Lehman, 18 Nov 10, New York www.sothebys.com