Pierre-Jean-Baptiste Vandé fils, painter and gilder active at Sèvres 1779-1800.
The mounts of these superb vases are of exceptional quality, and close inspection has revealed that they may well be unique as they appear to have been cast from wax models (which could only be used once) rather than the more customary practice of casting from moulds, which could be reused.
THE THOMIRE ATTRIBUTION
The mounts can be attributed to the celebrated bronzier Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843),who from 1783, following the death of Duplessis fils, was responsible for the fitting and design of gilt-bronzes for the Sèvres factory. The distinctive spiral-twisting horns issuing from the satyr masks is a particular feature of Thomire's oeuvre, recurring as handles in a series of Sèvres porcelain vases cassolettes à monter with mounts attributed to Thomire (for instance on a pair of vases supplied to the Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1799, subsequently sold Christie's New York, 31 October 1996, lot 437). The attribution of the mounts of the vase cassolette to Thomire is confirmed by a drawing in the Sèvres archives for this model inscribed ...'pour Etre monté par M. Tomier' (sic Thomire).
The satyr masks joined by grapevine swags of the Rothschild vases also feature on two Chinese porcelain vases with mounts attributed to Thomire, one in the Royal Collection, acquired in 1812 by George, Prince of Wales for Carlton House (illustrated in G. de Bellaigue, Sèvres Porcelain from the Royal Collection, London, 1979, pp. 31-2, cat. 11), and one in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, formerly in the collection of Princess Isabella Lubormirska, Castle Lancut, Poland (illustrated in C. Bremer-David, Decorative Arts : An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J.Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 1993, p. 266, cat. 266).
THOMIRE AND DAGUERRE
Thomire frequently collaborated with the celebrated marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre (d. 1796), as is demonstrated by the fact that the form of vase cassolette à monter mentioned above was often referred to as a vase Daguerre. Daguerre was remarkably innovative in evolving new forms to keep abreast of changing taste, and also in developing new markets, particularly among English and Russian aristocrats. Indeed in 1788 he established a shop in London and from 1793 was resident there. The possibility that the Rothschild vases were a unique commission makes a collaboration between Daguerre and Thomire more likely, although Thomire himself was certainly capable of creating such innovative designs. of creating such innovative designs.