Embellished with precious Chinese famille verte porcelain plaques set within finely chased ormolu borders and resting on dolphin feet, these splendid jardinières are exemplary of the luxurious objets produced by marchand-merciers, the 18th Century Paris dealers including, amongst others, Joachim Hébert, Simon-Philippe Poirier and Dominique Daguerre. The taste for mounting earlier oriental porcelain vessels and thus creating precious 'new' objects had a long history but only during the mid-18th Century rococo did this fashion flourish due to the creative and innovative spirit of these dealers, who imported oriental porcelain, lacquer, marble and hardstones, designed the mounts and sold the finished objet.
One of the most talented dealers in the early 19th Century, who may have executed the present jardinières, was Madame Désarnaud, whose establishment A l'escalier de cristal, founded in 1802 at Palais Royal, specialised in crystal and porcelain mounted in ormolu. One of her most luxurious pieces was the crystal and ormolu dressing-table and matching chair executed around 1819, possibly for the duchesse de Berry and now in the Louvre. Both the chair and the table have legs and arm terminating in winged dolphin heads similar to those on the present jardinières ('Un Age d'Or des Arts Décoratifs 1814-1848', exh. cat., Paris, 1991, pp. 129-130).
A pair of lacquer jardinières of similar taste featured amongst the purchases of the celebrated Regency collector George Byng (d. 1845) for Wrotham Park. Acquired at auction at Oxenhams in 1836, they were sold at Christie's London, 9 June 2005, lot 38.