Appearing in the eighteenth century, the “cabaret” is a collection of objects presented on a tray meant to serve hot drinks. It is also called a “breakfast service,” as the cabaret is generally used for the light meal taken by high society over the course of the morning. Delivered to Empress Marie-Louise by the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory, this cabaret was offered as a gift to Napoleon’s uncle, Cardinal Fesch, a known art collector and Grand Chaplain of the Empire, on January 1, 1812. With this gift, the imperial couple showed their gratitude to the Cardinal, who, six months earlier, had celebrated the King of Rome's baptism at the Notre Dame Cathedral. When he returned to Rome, the Cardinal brought the cabaret with him. It would be acquired by the painter Camuccini, director of the Vatican’s art collections under Pius VII and author of Cardinal Fesch’s Catalogue of Paintings.
This impressive set, composed of an oval tray, an “Etruscan” teapot called a “pestum” (ovoid belly with a raised handle), a “Greek milk jug” and two “conical” cups with their saucers, attests to the influence of Classical Antiquity on the productions of the First Empire. The flower and insect decoration, executed by Drouet, is painted on a ground of chrome green, a high-fire colour invented by Vauquelin in 1802, with gold vermiculation and stylized gold myrtle garlands.