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Exceptional pair Sèvres hard paste Vases du Roi
Exceptional pair of white Sèvres hard-paste Vases du Roi with tri-color gilding.
Each vase is decorated with two relief ovals of gilded military trophies on a very rare purple luster ground.  Elaborate and intricate gilded floral swags, in reddish tones, mostly composed of roses in full relief, hang from burnished pins over the oval medallions and extend to burnished pins holding double pendants on the sides. The gilding on the flowers is enhanced with fine burnishing emphasizing the extraordinarily nuanced relief carving on individual leaves and petals.  Sprays of lilies, gilded in more greenish tones in shallow relief, are applied to the bodies of the vases and probably symbolize the royal fleur de lys. The underside of the central part of the vases is decorated with a border of overlapping laurel leaves, superbly gilded in greenish and yellowish tones; the larger foreground leaves are brilliantly burnished, the background leaves are matte. The spirally fluted stemmed base is carved with relief leafage and rests on a square plinth. The incurvated neck is carved with matte gilt relief leafage in the fluting and burnished flat gilding between a lower band of acanthus molding and the gadrooned top molding.

[Both: Restored minute chips to flowers in the swags. Slight differences to plinths]
[“D” vase: Restored chip to corner and other small chips on square plinth; areas of gilding refreshed.]
[“IN” vase: Restored small chips on square plinth. Stemmed pedestal support restored; areas of gilding refreshed.]

Only seven of these vases are known to exist, all in museums or important English “country houses”, except for this pair. The only other hard-paste example is in the “Red Drawing Room” at Uppark. The modeling and gilding of these vases are particularly fine because they are executed in hard-paste.
The vases are based on Fontanieu designs; they combine elements from his Vase Fontanieu à guirlandes and the Vase du Roi.  See the article by John Whitehead in the 1999 French Porcelain Society Journal.

These are probably the pair given by Louis XVI to his brother-in-law Joseph II of Austria in 1777 at a cost of 600 livres each. A pair of Sèvres hard-paste vases Bachelier in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, which were part of the same gift, is also white with gilding. This decorative scheme is very much in Viennese taste.

Mark: Crowned Sèvres mark on both

Signed: “IN” -  Jean Chauvaux, le jeune
        “D” – (Probably) Decambos

Inventory mark (?): “D” vase – red painted “IX”
Literature: Rosalind Savill. The Wallace Collection; Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain. London, 1988. Vol. I. Mentioned page 428.

                    Shelley M. Bennett and Carolyn Sargentson. French Art in the Eighteenth Century at The Huntington. New Haven and London; Yale University Press, 2008. Mentioned page 240 and footnote 13.

Ex Collection: (Probably) Louis XVI to Joseph II of Austria in 1777
                                            French & Co., New York
                                            Bill and Edith Wilson, New York


Height (ins.): 13 ½" (34.3 cm)      Length/Width (ins.): 9 ½" (24.1 cm)      Depth (ins.): 9 ½" (24.1 cm)
Origin: France, circa 1777     Period: Louis XVI



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