I think the first thing to clarify here is that Sèvres ware is not made with biscuit porcelain. But biscuit porcelain is a thing. It’s a pun that doesn’t quite work, but it comes so very close I couldn’t bring myself to leave it out.
I actually quite like Sevres porcelain. I worked as a weekend gallery attendant at the Fitzwilliam Museum when I was at school and I’d often end up stuck in the porcelain gallery, having to spend all day surrounded by twee Victorian figures of shepherdesses playing the ukele, and statuettes of Father Time lifting up naked, uncomfortable-looking women meant to represent Truth. The one case of Sevres porcelain was a relief to the senses, and I’ve never been able to shake the habit of comparing it to grimly sentimental pastel figurines. Obviously it always comes out on top.
I mean look at it – it’s the colour of macarons, and it’s begging to be eaten even when it’s not made of biscuit.
The best place to see Sevres porcelain in London is the Wallace Collection – not just because their halls are cluttered with it and you’ll be able to pop upstairs and see the Laughing Cavalier as well, but because when someone new to London insists on seeing Oxford Street it’ll be five minutes away, and just as Sevres porcelain is always better than a shepherdess with a ukele, it’s also better than a twenty Zaras strung together by Prets.
One of the reasons that porcelain was so highly prized was that it allowed you to paint on it with much more detail than any other material. Icing, unfortunately, does not quite have this property, and, regardless, I don’t have that level of skill. So at the centre of these are ‘design you own’ edible cupcake toppers. The rest is a simple biscuit recipe with flooded royal icing, that I then painted.
My god it’s nice to be back.