Rare Egyptian dinner service in linen damask, tablecloth and twenty-two napkins, Saxony or Matthewson manufacture in Dunfermline, Scotland, first half of the 19th century,
cream damask linen with a silky touch. On the field, two rosettes spiked with stylized lotuses radiating in an entourage of vine branches and wheat sheaves. On the borders, two different friezes with alternating motifs of cobra, sphinx, recumbent lions, ibis and canopy; at the spandrels, a pyramid surmounting a winged solar disk and a star in a crescent. Double monogram embroidered with the plumetis MA topped with a stylized fleur-de-lys, (light bluish spot), 620 x 225 cm.
Napkins coordinated with the monogram (one hole, three slightly stained), 67 x 77 cm.
For Mr Prinet, this service is a faithful interpretation of a service woven in Saxony on the return from General Bonaparte's Egyptian Campaign in 1798. A copy of this service is well catalogued, it belongs to the descendants of Baron Victor Louis Cassagne who took part in the Egyptian campaign alongside Bonaparte. His descendants also keep the two volumes of the Journey to Lower and Upper Egypt during the campaigns of General Bonaparte, 1st consul of Vivant Denon. Our service, whose decoration is slightly different, could be an English production subsequent to the eviction of the French from Egypt by the English in 1801 or a production of these same Saxon manufacturers with a denser decoration brought up to date during the Romantic period.
The V&A retains two services identical to our V.&A. T 118 1930 and V.&A. 2090 1932.
Bible: M. Prinet, Le damas de lin historié, Office du Livre, Fribourg, 1982. Nos 162 and 164 rep. p 210 and 211.
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