Buy me a milking-pail, O mother, O mother!
Buy me a milking-pail, O dearest mother of mine!*
Sounds like an odd thing for me to request, but I wish that someone would buy me a milking-pail. A Sèvres style milk pail, that is. I never really thought much about them until I was looking through my copy of the Jayne Wrightsman auction catalogue over the weekend. The 2010 Sotheby's auction featured the contents of Wrightsman's London residence. And in that residence was a Samson Sèvres-style porcelain milk pail from the late 19th century. (That's it at the top.) Somehow, I missed seeing this lot when I first read the catalogue almost two years ago.
It was Marie Antoinette who first used a Sèvres milk pail while she and her courtiers played milk maids at the Dairy at Rambouillet. According to what I've read, Marie Antoinette's pail was decorated in a faux bois design, meant to emulate real wood grain. Later models, though, are more often decorated with a floral motif. It's the rams heads handles that I find most interesting, though.
If I had a milk pail, I would use it as a cachepot or maybe even as a waste paper basket. But if the milk pail look is a little too pastoral for you, you might be interested in the two jardinières that I included below. They're not milk pails, but they have those great gilt rams heads on them.
*The excerpt at top is from an old nursery rhyme.
A Sèvres style (Samson) milk pail, late 19th c. Sold at Christie's in 2006; price realized $2800.
Pair of Sèvres style milk pails
Sèvres porcelain cachepot with gilded rams heads. Available from Vintage Views Consignment & Consulting.
A Dresden porcelain ram head jardiniere. 20th c. Sold by Neal Auction Company.
Pair of Louis XVI style blue and white Sevres porcelain jardinières, 19th c. From the estate of Evelyn Walsh McLean. Available from Newel.
Also from Vintage Views, a Louis XVI style bisque porcelain jardinière.