Bouilloire with floral decor in purple and grisaille

The bouilloire, manufactured between 1780 and 1790, consists of four parts:

  • the bowl
  • a pot
  • a kettle
  • a lid.

The latter fits both the pot and the kettle. This type of object originated in the 18th century and was used to heat up drinks such as tea and wine.

This piece is a good example of the close relations between Brussels porcelain makers and painters and foreign production centres. The unpainted porcelain, also called white ware, was made in the Clignancourt factory in Paris and then painted in Brussels, in this case by Louis Cretté.

This piece was purchased by the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles in 2019 from a Parisian antique dealer, following a tip-off from a porcelain specialist. It was then handed over to the museum for safekeeping.

Louis Cretté, decorative painter (1758-1813)

Louis Cretté began his career as a porcelain painter in 1772 at the factory in Bourg-la-Reine near Paris. He then went to work in the Count of Artois and Duke of Angouleme’s prestigious factories, where he met his future partners, Claude Bommer and Jacques Müller.

Together they set up the Lille and Valenciennes factories, and then came to Brussels in 1786 to set up the Montplaisir factory and, in 1787, the Etterbeek factory. Due to circumstances, Cretté was unable to produce himself for some time and decided to start painting. He bought his white goods in Paris and then painted them.

In 1799, he started his own factory in Sablon. He partnered with Mortelèque, with whom he mainly produced beautiful tableware in which painting played the leading role. The focus was on landscapes, flowers, animals and rural scenes. In 1803, he produced an exceptional service decorated with birds meticulously copied from the illustrations in Buffon’s Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux, a work published between 1771 and 1786. Part of this service is already in the Museum’s possession.

Louis Cretté died in 1813 and Mortelèque moved to Ixelles where he worked for a while with among others Faber.


Why did we include this work in our collections?

  • This work is particularly interesting because of the decoration, which is very rare, especially due to the combination of the purple and grisaille.
  • The form of this work is very special and not previously known in Brussels.


Would you like to know more about this acquisition? Come and visit the museum to see it with your won eyes. You can also find more details about the work itself in the inventory sheet here available.