The Emperor Napoleon commissioned this service in 1807 and presented it to Prince William of Prussia in September, 1808. Each piece of the set, called a cabaret, is decorated with at least one scene derived from Jean de la Fontaine's (1621-95) Fables. The high quality of all the painted scenes marks this service as one of Christophe-Ferdinand Caron's greatest achievements while working as an animal painter at Sevres between 1792 and 1815. Caron studied plants at the botanical gardens in Paris as well as books on various animals and birds to create detailed scenes of the fables. Stories illustrated on the cups include the tortoise and the hare and the fox and the stork.