For the Rousseau dinner service, Bracquemond etched a large number of plant, bird and animal designs assembled onto twenty-eight plates. These plates were then printed and transferred onto paper. The different designs were cut out and applied directly to the earthenware.
The decoration was then coloured by workers at the pottery according to instructions provided by Bracquemond. The patterns of decoration mostly take the form of groups of three: a main subject and two associated smaller subjects.
The shape of the dish, attributed to the designer Eugène Rousseau, is more traditional and is inspired by Rococo patterns copied from 18th century porcelain. The sides of the dish have moulded ornamentation and blue painted decoration.
The originality of this dinner service, which combines 18th century shapes with Japanese-inspired decoration, immediately attracted attention. In his account of the International Exhibition held in London in 1871, Mallarmé paid tribute to “this admirable and unique dinner service decorated by Bracquemond with Japanese designs borrowed from the barnyard and fishing lakes, the most beautiful recent china that I have had occasion to see”.