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AN ORMOLU-MOUNTED SEVRES PORCELAIN BLEU NOUVEAU-GROUND VASE AND COVER (VASE A RUBAN OR VASE A COURONNE, 1ERE GRANDEUR)
AN ORMOLU-MOUNTED SEVRES PORCELAIN BLEU NOUVEAU-GROUND VASE AND COVER (VASE A RUBAN OR VASE A COURONNE, 1ERE GRANDEUR)
AN ORMOLU-MOUNTED SEVRES PORCELAIN BLEU NOUVEAU-GROUND VASE AND COVER (VASE A RUBAN OR VASE A COURONNE, 1ERE GRANDEUR)
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AN ORMOLU-MOUNTED SEVRES PORCELAIN BLEU NOUVEAU-GROUND VASE AND COVER (VASE A RUBAN OR VASE A COURONNE, 1ERE GRANDEUR)
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These lots have been imported from outside of the … Read more A ROTHSCHILD SEVRES 'VASE A RUBAN'
AN ORMOLU-MOUNTED SEVRES PORCELAIN BLEU NOUVEAU-GROUND VASE AND COVER (VASE A RUBAN OR VASE A COURONNE, 1ERE GRANDEUR)

THE PORCELAIN CIRCA 1767, BLUE INTERLACED L MARK ENCLOSING DATE LETTER O, INCISED C D, THE ORMOLU PROBABLY CIRCA 1770 AND SLIGHTLY LATER

Details
AN ORMOLU-MOUNTED SEVRES PORCELAIN BLEU NOUVEAU-GROUND VASE AND COVER (VASE A RUBAN OR VASE A COURONNE, 1ERE GRANDEUR)
THE PORCELAIN CIRCA 1767, BLUE INTERLACED L MARK ENCLOSING DATE LETTER O, INCISED C D, THE ORMOLU PROBABLY CIRCA 1770 AND SLIGHTLY LATER
Painted after Nicolaes Berchem on one side with a pastoral scene of a woman seated on a donkey holding a baby in her arms, another child in each of the panniers, guided by a man on foot at her side, a sheep at his feet, the reverse with a bouquet of flowers including roses, lilac and tulips, the front panel within an oval reserve suspended from a ribbon-tied ring below an undulating garland of flowers and foliage in gilding, the upright white, blue and gold scroll handles moulded and gilt with berried laurel, the upper rim moulded with a gilt ring entwined with a gilt-edged blue ribbon in relief, the fluted circular foot surmounted by a collar of beads and interlaced ribbon ornament in relief, the domed cover decorated with a gilt foliate garland and two gilt bands below a later ormolu pomegranate finial, on an ormolu square base with a pomegranate at each corner
The vase; 18 ½ in. (47 cm.) high overall (including mounts)
Provenance
Collection of Baron Alphonse de Rothschild (1827-1905), no. 20. (oval printed paper inventory label).
By descent to his son Baron Edouard Alphonse James de Rothschild (1868-1949), P. 48 and no. 443 A & B (rectangular printed and inscribed paper inventory labels).
By descent to his son Baron Guy de Rothschild (1909-2007); sold, Sotheby's, Monaco, 25-26 May, 1975, lot 208 ('provenant de l'hôtel Lambert et du château de Ferrières appartenant au Baron de Redé et au Baron Guy de Rothschild').
Anonymous sale; Pescheteau-Badin, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 10 June 2010, lot 112.
Literature
Rosalind Savill, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain, London, 1988, Vol. I, p. 236, p. 243 note 3(d) and p. 244 note 32.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Lot Essay

THE VASE
Distinguished by a finely painted pastoral scene and a rich bleu nouveau ground, the present vase à ruban (1ère grandeur) would appear to be one of only five recorded examples of this specific shape in the larger size not in a museum collection (1). Produced at Sèvres in 1767, it almost certainly forms a pair with a vase à ruban in The Wallace Collection, London, the two exhibiting many technical and aesthetic similarities (2). Although no pairs of the vase à ruban of the first size are recorded as such in the sales records, the present vase and the example in the Wallace bear remarkably closely related decoration in terms of subject matter, painting style and gilding designs. Both vases are decorated on one side with a superbly painted rustic pastoral scene within an oval reserve and on the other with a bouquet of flowers. On each vase, the reserves are enclosed by a gilded band tooled with an identical pattern of alternating matt and burnished diamonds, the painted panels suspended from gilded ribbon bows below garlands of flowers of corresponding design.

The scene on the present vase à ruban is taken from the first of a series of four engravings of Pastoral Landscapes by Johannes Visscher (1633 - after 1692), after the Dutch painter Nicolaes Berchem (1620-83), an example of which is held in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (Fig. 1) (3). For the scene on the Wallace Collection vase, the artist has used as his source another engraving by Johannes Visscher after Berchem, but from a different print series, in this case the title plate of Diversa Animalia Quadrupedia (4). The factory held an extensive collection of engravings to which artists could refer, sometimes directly copying the subject matter of a print and adapting it to the form of the piece they were decorating, and sometimes drawing on them as a more general source of inspiration. Eleven engravings after Berchem remain in the archives at Sèvres (5).

Stylistic similarities between the two vases suggest they were painted by the same hand, tentatively attributed to Antoine Caton, on the basis of a stylistic comparison with other pieces decorated with figural scenes bearing his painter’s mark of a star. Caton joined Vincennes in 1749, probably as a flower painter. By the mid-1750s, he was painting cherubs on clouds and children in landscapes after François Boucher. Reserves painted with genre scenes and scenes after paintings by Teniers became part of his repertoire by 1760. Later on, his subject matter broadened to include military, historical, mythological and pastoral subjects. He was frequently employed on plaques and vases, including a grand five-piece garniture of vases des âges, sold to Louis XVI in 1781 for 6000 livres and now divided between the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles and the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (6). Active until 1798, Caton’s career at Vincennes and then Sèvres spanned five decades (7).

The vase à ruban, introduced at Sèvres in 1763 and possibly designed by Jean-Claude Chambellan Duplessis re, was available in two sizes and in three slightly different versions (8). Surviving examples suggest that vases à ruban of the 1st size are rarer than those of the 2nd size and are extant only as single vases. About fifteen vases of this form (corresponding with Savill’s shape A) are known and, of these, only five are of the 1st size. This group of five vases à ruban 1ère grandeur includes the present example in bleu nouveau as well as the earliest known in bleu céleste. Bearing the date letter for 1764 and decorated by Charles-Nicolas Dodin, it is now in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (9). Two more are preserved in the Royal Collection of Her Majesty the Queen (10). The fifth (the aforementioned C.267 - Fig. 2) is in the Wallace Collection. Examples of the 2nd size include a pair in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (11) and a pair formerly in the private collection of the comtesse d’Aubigny, sold at Christies, on London, 21 June 1976, lot 162.

The present example, corresponding to Savill's shape A, is distinguished by a plain domed cover and bay-leaf garlands on the handles. The title probably refers to the relief ribbon that twists around the upper rim which is moulded with three rings. The plaster model and moulds, each valued at 40 livres for the 1st size and 30 livres for the 2nd size, are listed in the factory inventory of 1 January 1764. The alternative title may have been vase à couronne (or à couronnes), which appears in various factory records from 1763 to 1769 and in the 1773 list of old stock (12). A vase of this model, part of a green-ground garniture with a pair of vases Danemark à Gauderon now at Goodwood, Sussex, was bought by the 3rd Duke of Richmond (the unnamed buyer) on his visit to Sèvres on 12 November 1765 and recorded as vase à couronne (720 livres) in the Sales Records, indicating that both titles were applied to this shape. Only a small number of vases of this form have been identified in the Sales Records, including the central vase of a blue-ground garniture with a pair of vases à feuille de mirte sold to Henri Léonard Jean-Baptiste Bertin, contrôleur general (the crown minister responsible for the Sèvres factory) on 31 December 1766 and another, part of a five-piece green-ground garniture, dated 1772, with pastoral figures by Charles-Nicolas Dodin, purchased by Madame Victoire at the annual sale held by the factory at Versailles.

THE VASE AS 'GOÛT ROTHSCHILD'
As a family, the Rothschilds were the greatest collectors of the 19th century, with a keen sense of historical importance underpinning an appreciation of the highest quality workmanship. This is reflected in the houses that they built, the interiors they created and the magnificent collections amassed within them. This rich and opulent style, which became known as the ‘goût Rothschild’, is epitomised in the present vase à ruban, which was formerly in the collection of Alphonse James de Rothschild (1827-1905), the grandson of Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812), founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty. Alphonse's father, James (1792-1868), the first avid art collector in the family, assembled a unrivalled collection of paintings and works of art that he displayed the château de Ferrières, in the départment of Seine-et-Marne near Paris, commissioned in 1854 from the English architect Joseph Paxton. Alphonse not only inherited the château de Ferrières but also his father’s passion for collecting, in particular Dutch and Flemish Masters, Islamic works of art and Sèvres porcelain. In 1885, Alphonse was elected a member of l'Académie des beaux-arts. Alphonse’s grandson, Guy de Rothschild (1909-2007), renovated the Château de Ferrières, the country home where he had been raised and where with his wife, Marie-Hélène, the couple held extravagant costume balls. In 1975, Guy gifted the château de Ferrières to the University of Paris. The same year, a selection of the furniture and works of art from the collections of Baron de Redé and Baron Guy de Rothschild, taken from the hôtel Lambert and the château de Ferrières, were offered by Sotheby’s in an auction held in Monaco on 25-26 May. The present vase was lot 208 in the sale. Another vase à ruban with a bleu nouveau ground, but in the smaller 2nd size, painted with a gallant scene after Antoine Watteau, also belonging to the de Rothschild family (Baron Mayer-Carl von Rothschild; by descent his daughter Berta von Rothschild; given to her daughter Élisabeth Berthier) was sold at Sotheby’s, London, on 4 July 2018, lot 20.

1. Cf. Rosalind Savill, ibid., London, 1988, Vol. I, pp. 233-44 for an account of the history of this Sèvres vase shape and a full description of the three versions of the form. The present example corresponds to Savill’s shape A, distinguished by a plain domed cover and bay-leaf garlands on the handles. Two other versions were made at the factory – Saville’s shape B with spiralled fluting on the cover and a cone knop with acanthus tips, and shape C with a slightly ribbed body, without the leaf garlands on the handles and with a different neck and cover.
2. Museum no. C267. Cf. R. Savill, ibid., London, 1988, Vol. I, pp. 233-235, C267 and p. 234 for an illustration of the plaster model held at Cité de la céramique, Sèvres.
3. Museum no. RP-P-OB-61.923.
4. Museum no. RP-P-1904-1974.
5. Sèvres Archives, Cité de la céramique, Sèvres, engravings : XII 52 and 59, XIV 183-4, 186-7, 189-90 and 192-4.
6. The central vase des âges à têtes de vieillards and the flanking pair of vases des âges à têtes de jeunes femmes from the garniture are in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, no. 84.DE.718; see Adrian Sassoon, Vincennes and Sèvres Porcelain: Catalogue of the Collections, Malibu, 1991, pp. 126-35, no. 25. The pair of vases des âges à têtes d' enfants are in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, nos. 48.566 and 48.567.
7. Cf. R. Savill, ibid., London, 1988, Vol. III, pp. 1015-6, for further information on Caton's career at Vincennes and Sèvres.
8. This vase design has also been attributed to the director of sculpture at Sèvres, Etienne-Maurice Falconet, Cf. Vincent Bastien, ‘Une exceptionnelle garniture de Sèvres’, L’Estampille / l’Objet d’art, November 2010, pp. 54-59.
9. Museum no. 1939-41-61a,b
10. RCIN 2359 and RCIN 36113; Cf. Sir Geoffrey de Bellaigue, French Porcelain in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, London, 2009, Vol. I, pp. 212-217, cat. nos. 37 and 38.
11. John Jones Bequest, museum no. 782 1-2-1882.
12. The shape may also have been referred to as vase à baguettes or vase baguettes rubans in the factory records. A five piece garniture formerly in the collection of the Right Honourable The Earl of Harewood (sold Christie’s London, 1st July 1965, lots 25 and 26) has been identified by Vincent Bastien as bought in May 1774 by the Abbé de Breteuil; the central vase of this garniture described as ‘vase à baguettes rubans beau bleu figures’ (Cf. Vincent Bastien, ibid., 2010, pp. 54-59). Another five-piece green-ground garniture, dated 1772, with pastoral figures by Charles-Nicolas Dodin, was recorded in the Sales Records as comprising one 'vase à baguettes', two vases 'à feuilles de lauries' and two vases 'flacon à cordes'. This garniture was purchased by Madame Victoire and is illustrated and discussed by Marie-Laure de Rochebrune, Splendeur de la peinture sur porcelaine du XVIIIe siècle, Charles Nicolas Dodin et la manufacture de Vincennes-Sèvres, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 2012, pp. 124-129, nos. 49 and 52.

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