Pair of Ice-Cream Coolers from Service des plantes de la Malmaison

seau à glace forme vase

Made at Sèvres Manufactory (France), Decorated by Philippe Parpette (active in 1755–1757, and 1773–1806), and Jacques-Nicolas Sisson (active 1795-1845)


Each: 31.9 x 23.5 cm (12 9/16 x 9 1/4 in.) Other (width at handles): 27 cm (10 5/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Hard-paste porcelain with colored enamel and gilded decoration

Not On View





Urn-shaped ice-cream coolers with lids and porcelain liners.

This pair of ice-cream coolers belongs to a 108-piece dessert service made for Josephine de Beauharnais, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte and later Empress of France, between 1802 and 1805. The botanical decorations are based on watercolors by Pierre -Joseph Redouté, the famed flower painter. Named for one of his most celebrated works, Les Liliacées [The Lilies], the service depicts the lilies and other flowering plants cultivated by Josephine at Malmaison, her house near Paris.

Ice-cream coolers were used for the service of frozen desserts such as sorbets, coffee ices, frozen custard, and ice cream. To keep the dessert cold, ice was packed around an inner bowl holding the dessert and in the deep well of the lid.


2001.250: MAGNOLIER à deux couleurs (side 1) GLOBBÉE pendanté (side 2)

2001.251: NENUPHAR Bleu (side 1) GORDONIE pubescente (side 2)


2001.250: Incised on foot: modeler's mark "T [? in script]" and date mark for 1802/03; incised on liner: date mark for 1803/04. Lid not marked.

2001.251: Incised on foot: modeler's mark ["T" or "L" in script]; incised on liner: date mark for 1803/04. On foot: factory mark and date mark for 1803/04, in red enamel.


March 28, 1805, delivered to Joséphine Bonaparte (b. 1763 - d. 1814), Empress of the French, Château de Saint-Cloud [see note 1]; April 1806, given by Joséphine to Stéphanie Louise Adrienne de Beauharnais (b. 1789 - d. 1860) and Karl Ludwig Friedrich von Baden (b. 1786 - d. 1818), Baden-Baden, Germany [see note 2]; until about 2000, by descent within the family. Private collection; 2001, sold from this private collection through Lignereux, Zurich, to Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Kravis, New York; 2001, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Kravis to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 23, 2001)

[1] A 116-piece dessert service, of which the MFA owns 14 pieces (2001.240 - 2001.253) was delivered to Joséphine ten days after it entered the Sèvres sales room. It was later transferred from the Château de Saint-Cloud to that at Malmaison, near Paris. [2] The service was a gift to Stéphanie upon the occasion of her marriage to Karl Ludwig Friedrich von Baden. Stéphanie de Beauharnais was the daughter of the first cousin of Empress Joséphine's first husband, Alexandre de Beauharnais.

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry R. Kravis