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Vase and cover - <i>vase Paris</i>

vase Paris

  • Object:

    Vase and cover

  • Place of origin:

    Sèvres (the first (largest) of two sizes made by the factory, made)

  • Date:

    1780 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Genest, Jean-Baptiste-Etienne (painter)
    Morin, Jean-Louis (painter)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Soft-paste porcelain, enamelled and gilded

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by John Jones

  • Museum number:

    781A-1882

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 143, The Timothy Sainsbury Gallery, case 8, shelf 1 []

This large and imposing vase was among eighty-nine pieces of Sèvres porcelain bequeathed with a collection especially rich in eighteenth-century French decorative art by John Jones in 1882. As the handbook to the Jones Collection stated in 1883: "Suddenly ... a collection has been given ... which contains the very objects so much to be desired, and, as it seemed a year ago, so hopeless of attainment." A military tailor who made his fortune during the Crimean War, Jones (1799-1882) started collecting seriously in the 1850s, sharing a taste for luxury objects of the ancien regime with aristocratic collectors such as the fourth marquess of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace (founders of London's Wallace Collection), John Bowes, and Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild.

The Royal Manufactory of Sèvres specialised in exceptionally luxurious objects, many destined for the French court. Capable of startling innovation, the factory produced a constantly evolving repertoire to suit the changing tastes of its clients. Sèvres porcelain was admired and collected by the royal, noble and wealthy elite throughout Europe, and was also became widely imitated.

Regarded as one of the highlights of Jones's collection this vase was illustrated as the frontispiece to the catalogue written by the curator William King, published in 1924. Apart from its large size, the vase represented an important example of porcelain from a royal factory being used as a diplomatic gift between monarchs; in this case from King Gustav III of Sweden to the Empress Catherine II of Russia. Acting on the Swedish king's behalf, the writer Jean-François Marmontel, acquired a group of three vases and two biscuit groups from the Sèvres factory to commemorate the signature of a treaty of armed neutrality between the two countries in 1780. If you look carefully it is possible to read an inscription on the open book lying on top of the barrel to the centre right of the painted harbour scene commemorating this event: it reads; 'neutralité armée 1780. CatherineII. Gustave III'. How it came to leave the imperial collections is not known although it is now believed that it was probably stolen with items from the Empress's Sèvres service from the Hermitage during the famous fire of 1837. It was subsequently in the Demidoff Collection at the Palazzo San Donato in Florence, from where it was sold by auction in March 1880, lot 469. The sum paid for this vase at the San Donato sale was 31,000 francs.

William King, Catalogue of the Jones Collection, II, Ceramics, ormolu, goldsmiths' work, enamels, sculpture, tapestry, books, and prints (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1924)

Physical description

Vase and cover, probably the model known as vase Paris, soft-paste porcelain decorated with bleu nouveau ground colour and a principal reserve painted with a harbour scene after Vernet. A book lying open on top of the barrel to centr right of the scene bears the inscription 'neutralité armée 1780.CatherineII. Gustave III'.

Place of Origin

Sèvres (the first (largest) of two sizes made by the factory, made)

Date

1780 (made)

Artist/maker

Genest, Jean-Baptiste-Etienne (painter)
Morin, Jean-Louis (painter)

Materials and Techniques

Soft-paste porcelain, enamelled and gilded

Marks and inscriptions

Interlaced 'L's
LG
Factory mark and gilder's mark for Le Guay

Dimensions

Height: 49.6 cm

Descriptive line

Sèvres vase vase Paris with bleu nouveau ground, painted with a harbour scene

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

James Parker, Edith Appleton Standen, and Carl Christian Dauterman Decorative art from the Samuel H. Kress Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: the tapestry room from Croome Court, furniture, textiles, Sèvres porcelains, and other objects. London, Phaidon Press for the Samuel H. Kress Foundation; [distributed by New York Graphic Society, Greenwich, Conn., 1964] See catalogue no. 50, pp. 225-226 for a bleu nouveau flower trough, cuvette à fleurs Courteille of 1770, painted with the almost identical scene with the painter Morin's mark.
William King, Catalogue of the Jones Collection, II, Ceramics, ormolu, goldsmiths' work, enamels, sculpture, tapestry, books, and prints (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1924), pp. 14-15, no. 134, illustrated frontispiece. A detailed note is provided documenting this vase's gifting by the Gustave III, King of Sweden to Catherine II, Empress of Russia, in 1780 to commemorate the signing of a treaty of armed neutrality between the two countries. The author speculates it was possibly stolen from the Hermitage during the famous fire of 1837. It was subsequently in the Demidoff Collection at the Palazzo San Donato in Florence, where it was sold by auction in March 1880, lot 469. The sum paid for this vase a the San Donato sale was 31,000 francs.
Savill, Rosalind. The Wallace Collection: Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain, 3 vols. London: Trustees of the Wallace Collection, 1988. See Vol I pp. 434-437 for a detailed discussion of this shape and cat. nos. C330 and C331-2, pp.438-446 for three examples: the first of c. 1779 with a beau bleu ground reserved with a pastoral scene after Boucher; the pair of the same date of hard paste decorated with a fanciful design of birds, flowers and trellises. This example is cited on p. 437. This shape occurs two sizes with several variations in the moulding to the neck and foot. The shape name derives from its designer, Jacques-François Paris. Paris started at Vincennes/Sèvres c. 1746 aged eleven and progressed to become assistant to Jean-Claude Duplessis, directeur artistique at the factory. On Duplessis' death in 1774 he was promoted to chef des répareurs, head of the soft-paste workshop. This shape was designed to be the central one of a garniture and is also recorded therefore as vase Paris de milieu, the flanking vase shapes were known as vase Paris de côté.

Materials

Soft paste porcelain

Techniques

Enamelled; Gilding

Categories

Ceramics

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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