Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Buy Me a Milking-Pail

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.


  1. With a Sevres pail you would have the perfect table centre for your dining room! These pails are perfect objects to base a room decor around. I too am dropping hints about getting one but so far, I'm afraid, the tulpiere has to suffice

  2. The only problem is that, while I'm willing to buy one for you, and you deserve it for all your great posts recently, I know I'll selfishly end up keeping it for myself.
    --Road to Parnassus

  3. Thank you, Parnassus! It's the thought that counts ;)

  4. Would also be great to hold ice on a bar!

  5. Blue, we'll start a trend at PT!

  6. Very interesting indeed...I own the Wrightsman milk pail which sits on our table filled with fresh dry Lavender sprigs...it is very tall and beautiful in person with the detail of the Rams head being quite chiseled.

    SAMSON was so exacting that many museums in the World still own pieces in their collections incorrectly identified as Sevres not too mention the secondary market of collectors who collect ONLY Samson. Of course, I love Sevres as well, owning the L'Amour Menacant and Psyche both from the collection of Doris Duke...first seen by my eyes at Falcons Lair, the famed Valentino residence in Beverly Hills owned by her that was decorated by Leonard Stanley and Tony Duquette.

  7. I learn so much from you, who knew about Milk pails! Thank you. I am taken with #5 image. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  8. I venture to say that Sèvres anything would be well received by just about anyone no dahhling?

  9. What a chic cache pot . I love these pieces

  10. That Samson pail at the top is *stunning*.

    That must be one pampered cow; the only one I know who'd rate a pail like that would be Eleanor:




  11. All are exceptionally beautiful! I love the one in the sixth photo best. Great post.

  12. I forgot about ol' Eleanor. This would have been right up her alley :)

  13. This is so upper east side! Love it! perfect for a woman in her own lovely apartment

  14. I have one that I just posted on Ruby Lane. It looks very much like the pair of Sevres style milk pails you have pictured above. Wow, now I'm questioning whether or not to sell it!