Fallot Blue (bleu Fallot)

Bleu Fallot (Fallot blue) is a bright blue overglaze ground color, invented in 1764 by the renowned color worker named Fallot (first name unknown, active 1764–90). Fallot was a painter, gilder, and burnisher, especially known for his invention of new ground colors. He first began working at Sèvres in the color workshop (atelier des couleurs) in 1764. Before the year was up he had invented his own new ground color which became known as bleu Fallot (Fallot blue). It has been characterized as a “distinct bright blue color with a touch of violet” (Arend 1998, 79).


Two Plates in Fallot Blue with Inlaid Flowers (assiettes en bleu Fallot, fleurs incrustées), 1771, slide 45

This particular version of blue ground was often combined with a technique known as fleurs incrustées (inlaid flowers), in vogue from 1766–71, which was created by scraping away the ground color before the flowers are painted. Fallot blue was also frequently covered by dotted patterns, either with the famous partridge-eye décor (œil de perdrix) or other patterns comprised of circles of dots. The latter is well illustrated by the circles of gilded dots adorning the rich blue ground in “Two Plates in Fallot Blue with Inlaid Flowers” (assiettes en bleu Fallot, fleurs incrustées, 1771, slide 45). (The mark on the plates is for a different painter, Jean-Jacques Pierre, known as Pierre jeune [the younger], active 1763–1800).


Litron Cup and Saucer (gobelet litron et soucoupe), ca. 1764, slide 29

The “Litron Cup and Saucer” (gobelet litron et soucoupe, ca. 1764, slide 29) dates to approximately 1764, the year Fallot began working at Sèvres in the color workshop. It may predate Fallot’s invention of bleu Fallot. In any event, here the blue ground is a lighter, purer blue, brighter than the darker bleu lapis, bleu du roi, or bleu Fallot. Although it could be likened to or associated with the turquoise of celestial blue (bleu céleste), it is darker and more variegated, and could perhaps be a termed cobalt blue with gray ocean-blue undertones.


Fallot, Mark for Litron Cup (gobelet litron, slide 29), slide 29_Mark

This litron cup is believed to bear Fallot’s painter’s mark, which has been identified as an F with two dots on either side (Eriksen and De Bellaigue 1987, 153 no. 43).

After working in the color workshop from 1764–73, Fallot became a painter; his creations included paintings of dolphins, birds, butterflies, flowers, landscapes, and arabesques. Nothing else is known of his life.

References: Savill 1988, 3:1032–33, 3:1174; Arend 1998, 79–83; Roth and Le Corbeiller 2000, 201; Eriksen and De Bellaigue 1987, 153 no. 43.