The factory at Saint Cloud was set up on the outskirts of Paris in 1666. In about 1690, after experiments by Pierre Chicaneau and under the management of Henri Trou, it became one of the very first factories in Europe to make a successful imitation of Chinese porcelain. This was achieved through an ‘artificial’ or ‘soft-paste’ body, technically distinct from the oriental product. The present pair of whimsical figures was made about 1730 and reflects the European fashion for chinoiserie, then at its height. The Far East, the original source of such exotic commodities as porcelain, tea and lacquer, was transformed by the European imagination into a combination of a pleasure garden and a Utopia ruled by philosophical mandarins.