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A LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE CELADON PORCELAIN POT-POURRI VASE AND COVER
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A LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE CELADON PORCELAIN POT-POURRI VASE AND COVER

THE MOUNTS CIRCA 1745, ATTRIBUTED TO JACQUES CAFFIERI, THE PORCELAIN FIGURE KANGXI (1662-1722), THE PORCELAIN CENSER LATE MING, FIRST HALF 17TH CENTURY

Details
A LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED CHINESE CELADON PORCELAIN POT-POURRI VASE AND COVER
THE MOUNTS CIRCA 1745, ATTRIBUTED TO JACQUES CAFFIERI, THE PORCELAIN FIGURE KANGXI (1662-1722), THE PORCELAIN CENSER LATE MING, FIRST HALF 17TH CENTURY
The cover in the form of a partially-glazed, partially biscuit porcelain figure of a seated elderly man dressed in a loose fitting robe, above a lobed bowl with ring-bearing mask handle to either end, with pierced acanthus-cast neck and base
10½ in. (26.5 cm.) high
Provenance
Marie Joseph d'Hostun de la Baume-Tallard, duc d'Hostun, duc de Tallard (1683-1755); sold Paris, 22 March 1756, lot 1053 (212 livres 19 sols).
Bought by Honoré Camille Léonor Grimaldi, duc de Valentinois and prince de Monaco (1720-1795), hôtel Matignon, Paris; sold 15 Messidor An XI (4 July 1803).
Mme Henry Farman; sold palais Galliera, Paris (Mes Ader, Picard, Tajan), 15 March 1973, lot 21.
Literature
D. Langeois, et al., Quelques Chefs d'Oeuvres de la Collection Djahanguir Riahi, Milan, 1999, pp. 138-9.
Special Notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Lot Essay

Embellished with a finely-modeled 'Buddhistic' figure to the cover, this extremely rare pot-pourri vase is a superb example of the most precious bronzes d'ameublement executed in the mid-18th Century. It was designed by a one of the most influential marchands-mercier of Paris, probably Lazare Duvaux, who provided the antique porcelain and coordinated the production process. It is one of the few items of the French 18th-century decorative arts of which the original owner has been identified - its history that can be traced back to 1756.

It was in the collection of Marie Joseph d'Hostun de la Baume-Tallard, duc d'Hostun, duc de Tallard, (1683-1755) at the hôtel Amelot de Chaillou, known as the hôtel Tallard. Marie Joseph d'Hostun was married to Marie Isabelle de Rohan, daughter of Hercule Mériadec, duc de Rohan-Rohan and Anne Geneviève de Lévis, daughter of Madame de Ventadour. The couple's only son died at the age of twenty-three in 1739, whilst Marie Isabelle was governess to the children of Louis XV, a position she held from 1735 until her death in 1754. After Tallard's death the following year his property was dispersed in a sale regarded as one of the most important of the 18th century, including a prestigious collection of porcelain, as well as important furniture, marbles, bronzes, drawings and paintings, notably Italian Old Masters. In the introduction to the catalogue, M. Remy wrote that 'Tous les objets qui composent ce magnifique cabinet tendent au grand & l'on n'y voit point cette confusion de petits morceaux entassés qui donnent à certain cabinets un air de magasin'. Many of the porcelain lots in his collection had come from the cabinet of the Grand Dauphin (22 in total), the son of Louis XIV; and several pieces had been acquired through the marchand-mercier Lazare Duvaux (Courajaud, Livre Journal de Lazare Duvaux, 1748-1758, p. XLIV). There were several pieces of blue and white porcelain, mounted on tripod bases in the Régence taste, as well Chinese figures, described as magots or pagodes - seven further such figures in addition to the present lot were listed in the 1756 catalogue. This pot-pourri was described as:

1053 - 'Un pot-pourri singulier, garni de bronze; il est formé par une jatte contournée de couleur celadon, accompagnée sur les deux côtés par des masques qui tiennent un anneau entre les dents; ce morceau sert de support à une pagode qui représente un gueux décharné, couvert en partie d'une draperie céladon; le tout d'ancienne porcelaine'

PRINCE DE MONACO
An annotated copy of the sale catalogue shows that it sold for 212 livres 19 sols to le Prince de Monaco - Honoré Camille Leonor Grimaldi, duc de Valentinois and prince de Monaco (1720-1795), who resided in Paris all his life. On 20 May 1732 he moved to the hôtel Matignon with his father and remained there, even after the abdication of his father and proclamation in 1733 of him as Prince of Monaco. Antoine Grimaldi, le Chevalier de Grimaldi, acted as regent for the prince between 1732 and 1784, whilst Honoré III (the title he used as prince) chose to remain in Paris, even after the death of Antoine Grimaldi in 1784, by which time Honoré III was 64 years old. Honoré III was one of the most important collectors of the 18th century, and considerably enriched the princely collections, which could be admired in the family estates in Normandy and Monaco as well as at the hôtel Matignon. The pot-pourri vase does not feature in the inventories of the Palace of Monaco that were published in 1918 by L.H. Labande, and it was probably kept in Paris at the hôtel Matignon. As the Révolution swept France and even though he declared some support for the revolutionary ideas of the time, Honoré III was imprisoned on 20 September 1793. When released a year later he was ruined, and his property under seal. His collection was subsequently sold in 1803.

The whereabouts of the pot-pourri vase was then unknown until it was sold in 1973 in Paris from the collection of Madame Henry Farman, the widow of the celebrated French aviator.

THE PORCELAIN
The figure of the emaciated old man, partially draped, with eyes closed and serene expression, probably represents an arhat (the Sanskrit term), rakan (the Japanese term) or luohan (the Chinese term) - devotees of Buddhism who aspired to reach the highest levels of spiritual enlightenment and often lived as hermits. They are often depicted as skeletal and elderly, sometimes with one or both hands resting on one bent knee. Other Chinese figures of old men, possibly luohan, exist in blanc de Chine porcelain (G.A. Godden, Oriental Export Market Porcelain and its influence on European Wares, Granada, 1979, p. 275, fig. 203) and as carvings in wood - an 18th-century Chinese figure of a luohan carved in boxwood is in the Spurlock Museum, Illinois. Such figures in biscuit and celadon-glazed porcelain were amongst the earliest models to have reached Europe from Japan and date to the second half of the 17th century. Examples of Japanese figures survive in several European collections including a pair at the Residenz in Munich, as well as a pair at Erddig in Wales (J. Ayers, O. Impey, J.V.G. Mallet, Porcelain for Palaces, exhib. cat., London, 1990, p. 177, cat. 157).

JACQUES CAFFIERI
Designed in the Louis XV 'pittoresque' style popularised by Juste-Aurèle Meissonier and Nicolas Pineau, these ormolu mounts can be attributed to the sculpteur, fondeur et ciseleur du roi Jacques Caffiéri (1678-1755), probably with the assistance of his son, Philippe (1714-1774). With its pierced guilloche scrolling base, it displays close similarities both in outline and finish with the suite of four wall-lights supplied to Madame Infante, Louise-Elizabeth of France, duchesse de Parma for the Palazzo di Colorno, and attributed to Caffiéri. Now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, these wall-lights were almost certainly amongst the thirty-four wagons of furnishings and fineries brought back to Colorno from the duchesse's second trip to Paris between September 1752 and September 1753 (C. Bremer-David, Decorative Arts, An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 1993, p. 103, no. 168).

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