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  3.16 Louis XVI, 1776  


©L British Library (OIOC), London
Louis XVI, 1776

Ormolu plaque, one of a pair; gilt bronze and marble
23 x 17.2 x 1.5 cm

LEBRUN

ipu would have appreciated the high quality of these objects, as well as their association with his father and with Mysore's French allies. The inscriptions on the back of these plaques record that they were given by Louis XVI to Haidar Ali on the occasion of the French king's coronation. They were one of the king's many elaborate diplomatic gifts, like the six Savonneries carpets and over twenty pieces of Tapestry which Louis XVI presented to the future Tsar Paul I of Russia and grand duchess Maria Feodorovna in 1782.

With some six months' notice of the arrival of Tipu's ambassadors, M. Regnier, director of the royal porcelain factory at Sèvres was instructed to prepare a long list of items 'pour Tippoo Sultan et ses trois ambassadeurs.' In deference to the Muslim tradition, the decoration was to be 'à fleurs, sans figure d'hommes ni d'animaux' ('floral, without any images of men or animals.') The Sèvres 'Registre des Ventes' includes entries for huqqas and huqqa bases for Tipu himself, and for the ambassadors '6 houkas, 12 gargoulis…6 Bustes du Roi de de la Reine (6 huqqas, 12 huqqa bases… 6 busts of the King and the Queen)


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