With its winged siren, skilfully executed scrolled handle and bold proportions, this impressive ewer relates closely to a pair of ewers with Kangxi porcelain and dragon entwined handles bought by Louis XVI at the duc d'Aumont's sale in 1782, now at the Musée du Louvre (illustrated in D. Alcouffe, et al., Gilt bronzes in the Louvre, Dijon, 2004, cat. 40, pp.89-90 and reproduced here). Further known examples with ‘draco’ handles include a pair sold from the collection of Gregory de Ligne Gregory (d. 1854), Harlaxton Manor, Christie's, London, 5 July 2012, lot 11, another sold Christie's, London, 10 July 2014, lot 21, and more recently the pair, possibly formerly in the collection of Louis-Jean Gaignat, secrétaire du Roi et Receveur des Consignations (then his sale, 14 February 1769, lot 103) sold Sotheby’s, Paris, ‘Les Dillée’, 18-19 March 2015, lot 43.
The scrolled handles to the latter examples feature entwined dragons rather than the more rarefied winged siren featured here. The siren is a comparatively rare motif in the full blown Louis XV production and appears more frequently in the designs of ornemanistes such as Couvet, de Wailly, Forty, Lorain, Petitot ou Vien, later in the 18th Century. Its enduring appeal is further illustrated by the many examples executed by the foremost bronzier Pierre Gouthière. Amongst these, the ‘vase aux sirènes’ in the Musée du Louvre, executed circa 1760-70 in the more transitional style (Ibid., cat. 71, p.148), the celebrated ewers delivered in 1770 to Madame du Barry (ill. in H. Ottomeyer & P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen II, Munich, 1986, p. 565) and the pair attributed to Gouthière formerly in the collection of the duc de Talleyrand, sold Christie’s, Paris, ‘Ancienne collection of Heli de Talleyrand, Duc de Talleyrand’, 26 November 2006, lot 307.
The elaborate outscrolled mounts on the present ewer - and particularly the acanthus-wrapped base - relate closely to the oeuvre of the celebrated dessinateur and fondeur-ciseleur Jean-Claude Chambellan Duplessis, père (d. 1774), chiefly known for his work as a modeller at the Sèvres factory. Documented bronzes by him are extremely rare: among the best known examples are the mounts for the Bureau du Roi of Louis XV and a mounted Sèvres vase of flowers on shaped base given by the Dauphine Maria-Josèphe to her father Augustus III, King of Saxony in 1749 (Serge Gauthier, Les Porcelainiers du XVIIIe Siècle Français, 1964, p. 169).