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A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU AND CHINESE CLAIR DE LUNE CELADON PORCELAIN VASES
A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU AND CHINESE CLAIR DE LUNE CELADON PORCELAIN VASES
A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU AND CHINESE CLAIR DE LUNE CELADON PORCELAIN VASES
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A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU AND CHINESE CLAIR DE LUNE CELADON PORCELAIN VASES
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These lots have been imported from outside of the … Read more THE BARON DE BESENVAL GARNITURE (LOTS 4, 5 & 6)PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION
A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU AND CHINESE CLAIR DE LUNE CELADON PORCELAIN VASES

THE ORMOLU MOUNTS ATTRIBUTED TO JEAN-CLAUDE CHAMBELLAN DUPLESSIS, CIRCA 1760, THE PORCELAIN CIRCA 1720-1750

Details
A PAIR OF LOUIS XV ORMOLU AND CHINESE CLAIR DE LUNE CELADON PORCELAIN VASES
THE ORMOLU MOUNTS ATTRIBUTED TO JEAN-CLAUDE CHAMBELLAN DUPLESSIS, CIRCA 1760, THE PORCELAIN CIRCA 1720-1750
Each with flask-shaped body inspired by bronze prototypes, surmounted by a shaped oval neck centered by a rockwork shell and flanked by fluted borders and scrolls, above cherub clasps suspending floral garlands, the shaped rectangular base with reeded border and foliate and cabochon-cast corner clasps, on pierced oval feet cast with foliage
12 in. (30.5 cm.) high; 6 ¼ in. (16 cm.) wide; 4 in. (10 cm.) deep
Provenance
Almost certainly Baron de Besenval (1722-1791) in his hôtel in the rue de Grenelle, Paris, probably sold Paris, 10 August 1795 as part of lot 148.
Either acquired by Peter, 5th Earl Cowper (D. 1836), directly for Panshanger, Hertfordshire, or by Thomas, 2nd Earl de Grey (D. 1859) for Wrest Park, Hertfordshire, and subsequently through De Grey's daughter to Panshanger until circa 1953 and thereafter by descent until sold, Christie's King Street, 6 December 2007, lot 130.
Literature
P. Gallois, ‘Baron de Besenval’s Eclectic Eye’, The Furniture History Society, Newsletter 221, février 2021, p. 4.
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

Precisely depicted in Baron de Besenval’s portrait by Henri-Pierre Danloux, these sumptuously mounted vases are in the late rococo style of around 1760, which represented a reaction to the fanciful asymmetry of early rococo, the goût pittoresque of the 1730s and 1740s. The feet and spouts are curved, and the upper rim is centred by large, shell-like rocaille, but the overall design is fully symmetrical, a feature characteristic of designer and bronzier Jean-Claude Chambellan Duplessis’ oeuvre. The reeded lower border, the naturalistic garlands of flowers, and the figures of draped boys at the sides - supporting the rim with their right hand and holding the floral swags with their left one - herald the advent of a new classicism. At a time when an aggressive neo-classicism, the so-called goût grec, was already being advocated by a small number of avant-garde patrons and artists, many preferred the generous, sweeping forms of this rococo rectifié. The beautifully chased mounts adorn rare celadon vases whose shape is derived from Chinese archaic bronze vessels. No other similar pair appears to be recorded, although nearly identical bases occur on other pieces, such as a pair of clair de lune pagoda vases in the Rijksmuseum (C. Jörg, Chinese ceramics in the collection of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Amsterdam-London 1977, no. 266) and a bottle-shaped vase in the Wrightsman Collection (acc. num. 49.7.80- 81, F.J.B. Watson, the Wrightsman Collection, vol. II, Furniture, gilt bronze and mounted porcelain, carpets, New York, 1966, p. 239).
The already strong likelihood of these vases being those in the Besenval portrait is further supported by the existence of two pairs with the same mounts, but very obviously different decoration on the porcelain. The pair mentioned above in the Wrightsman collection is decorated with relief key-pattern, the pair was in William Beckford's Collection at Fonthill, that of his son-in-law, the Duke of Hamilton at Hamilton Palace, were exhibited in William Beckford: An Eye For the Magnificent, 2006, no. 46. A further pair decorated with a second peach pattern, also in the collection of William Beckford at Fonthill, was subsequently sold Christie's London, 4 July 2013, lot 39.

TWO REGENCY COLLECTIONS: THE COWPER COLLECTION AT PANSHANGER AND THE DE GREY COLLECTION AT WREST PARK
This pair of vases was almost certainly acquired by either Peter, 5th Earl Cowper (d. 1836) for Panshanger, or by Thomas, 2nd Earl de Grey for Wrest Park, also in Hertfordshire. the latter's collection of French furniture and objets was partially inherited at Panshanger. Panshanger was built from 1807-20 by the architect William Atkinson (d. 1839), Thomas Hope's architect at Deepdene, surrey. He rebuilt Repton's house at Panshanger in the prevalent antiquarian taste. The picture collection, substantially the creation of the collector 3rd Earl, who had lived largely at Florence, and improved by the 5th Earl, was much admired by Waagen on his visit in 1835.
A plausible alternative source for these vases in the Panshanger collection is Thomas Philip Weddell, 5th baron Lucas, 3rd Lord Grantham and later 2nd Earl de Grey (1741-1859) of Wrest park, Hertfordshire. A celebrated Francophile and amateur architect, while 'at Paris some years before' de grey 'had paid a good deal of attention to small pavilions or buildings in gardens with a view to lodges or park gates at Wrest' and as early as 1826 he had designed new entrance lodges on the estate in the French manner. On inheriting Wrest from his aunt in 1833, however, de Grey embarked upon a comprehensive rebuilding programme. Acting as architect himself, with the assistance of James Clephane, he razed Giacomo Leoni's earlier house to the ground, although retaining the celebrated garden pavilion designed by Thomas Archer. Armed with the inspirational architectural treatises of J. Courtonne, Le Blond, Le Roux, Blondel and l'Assurance he proceeded to design an early louis xv House in the English countryside, completed in 1839 at a cost of £92,832 35 8d.

As the letter to his son so tellingly reveals (Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, vol. 59, no. 1980, pp. 65-85), the mansion was a comprehensive essay in Francophile taste. The tapestry room, for instance, was originally to be hung with the Gobelins suite from his house at Newby, acquired by his cousin William Weddell in Paris circa 1765-6, before protracted negotiations for Lord Dundas's similar Gobelins tapestries at Arlington street were pursued. These ultimately came to nothing, and in the end de Grey commissioned a suite of hangings from the Beauvais factory, after his own designs, which were ordered through monsieur Salandrouze. The boudoir was painted with medallions 'of Watteau-like figures, as like a Sevres cup as we could make them', while the doors for the saloon re-used some 'French wainscotting bought for George IV for Windsor castle by Mr Walsh porter'

De Grey's goût was very much in the vanguard of the revival of interest in ‘Buhl’ furniture and French taste promoted by George, Prince of Wales, later George IV. It is, therefore, extremely interesting that de Grey mentions 'the other four vases i bought off Baldock' in his letter. the Marchand-mercier Edward Holmes Baldock (d. 1854), 'purveyor of china, earthenware and glass' to William IV (1832-7) and purveyor of china to Queen Victoria (1838-45), was responsible for the formation of many of the greatest early 19th century collections of French furniture including, other than that of George IV, those of the Dukes of Buccleuch and Northumberland, William Beckford and George Byng. The predominance of ‘Buhl’ furniture in the de Grey collections at both Wrest and Newby Hall, Yorkshire, may well point to the assistance of Baldock, and his expertise in acquiring the greatest mounted porcelain for his English clients may also suggest his involvement in the acquisition of these vases.

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