These elegant vases have bodies of Chinese celadon porcelain with a pronounced crackled glaze intended to imitate the famous Southern Ko craquelure. This type of porcelain was generally not made for export, but was nonetheless highly prized in the 18th Century by Paris dealers or marchand-merciers, who clearly admired the unusual and 'ancient' looking crackled surface. Known as 'porcelaine truitée' from a supposed resemblance to the markings on the body of that fish, or 'porcelaine craquelée' when the craquelure was larger and coarser, these wares rarely appear in the Livre-Journal of the marchand-mercier Lazare Duvaux, which survives for the period 1748-1758. However, on 17 December 1750, the marquise de Pompadour bought from Duvaux: Deux vases de porcelaine truitée en forme de pot pourri, garnis en bronze doré d'or moulu, 1200l whilst seven years later, on 22 April 1757 the duc d'Orleans purchased from Duvaux a group of mounted vases of this same rare porcelain, including a large vase, two large pot-pourris, and two bottles, for the considerable sum of 2960 livres (F. Watson, Mounted Oriental Porcelain, Wisbech, 1986, no. 20, p. 68).
The rarity and considerable cost of this type of porcalain meant that they were almost exclusively set in very precious and exuberant ormolu mounts, often after an innovative design, a pairing entirely masterminded by a marchand-mercier. A particularly rich and accomplished example of ormolu-mounted porcelaine craquelé are the ewers with dragon handles and spouts cast as shells, such as those listed in inventory of Gaillard de Gagny in 1759 (The Collection of Edmond and Lily Safra, sold Sotheby's New York, 3-4 November 2005), while the ewers sold from the collection of André Meyer, Christie's, New York, 26 October 2001, lot 6, of beautiful light grey/green porcelain, demonstrate a harmonious arrangement of spout, handle and base around the porcelain body, thus creating a new and superbly beautiful objet.