Freemasonry and the French Revolution: Sèvres porcelain

During the French Revolution the Sèvres porcelain factory just outside Paris, originally established and patronised by the French Royal Family and nobility, turned to producing items which reflected the new political situation./—/

This tray for cups which held sorbet-like ice dishes (which have not survived) is known as a soucoupe à pied. It combines the revolutionary symbol of a red Phrygian cap with a stonemason’s tool, a level, used here to represent freemasonry.

The Phrygian cap is a soft, red, conical cap with the top pulled forward. It was worn in antiquity by the inhabitants of Phrygia, a region of central Anatolia but in Western Europe it had come to signify freedom and the pursuit of liberty since the Roman Empire  In revolutionary France the cap, also known as the bonnet rouge, was first seen in 1790. The national emblem of France, Marianne, is still usually shown wearing a Phrygian cap./—/

For further details about the exhibition please see events page.