THE SEVRES MODEL
This vase, referred to in the Sèvres archives as a cassolette à monter, belongs to a group recorded in both round and oval versions produced by the factory in the mid-1780s. Three drawings in the Sèvres Archives refer to vases of this general form. The first is a drawing dated 20 April 1784 incorporating a porcelain base and inscribed Vase Casollette pour Etre Monté par M. Tomier (sic Thomire). This is the basis on which the mounts for these vases are attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire. Of the two later drawings, that for the oval model, dated 1786, is inscribed Vase de Monsieur Daguerre oval donné à faire Dapres un Model En bois Le mois 9bre 1786, whilst that for a circular vase, dated 1787, is inscribed Vase Bassignoire 1e demandé par M.Salmon ... ce 10 aoust 1787...pour mettre En Bleu. As the circular version of this model of vase was also referred to as a vase Daguerre rond in 1787, the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre can be conclusively credited with both the design and evolution of this model.
Vases cassolettes mounted in ormolu appear in the Sèvres stocklists from 19 February, 1785 until 30 March, 1786 at 480 to 2,400 livres each and these were probably of the circular form, whilst
Vases cassolette cost 120, 408 and 480 livres each in 1787-88. This model enjoyed lasting popularity, not only in France but also with Russian and English aristocrats. Madame Adélaïde bought three vases in 1787, two at 408 livres each and one at 480 livres, all of which were presumably mounted in ormolu. Described as 2 vases cassolettes find three vases of this form conceived as a garniture. The vases costing 120 livres were presumably unmounted. Similarly, in September 1787 Madame du Barry purchased two vases beau bleu montés en bronze for 1,000 livres each, whilst a further garniture was delivered in 1799 for the State Bedroom of Maria Feodorovna at Mikhailovsky Castle in 1799. These latter vases were sold anonymously at Christie's New York, 31 October 1996, lot 437. Further related examples are in the Wallace Collection, London, in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (Acc. no. 73.D1.77.1-2), in the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace and at Harewood House, Yorkshire. Both the latter were undoubtedly supplied by Daguerre.
It is interesting to note that Dominique Daguerre continued to mount and sell porcelain vases well into the 1790s. In the inventory compiled after his death in 1796, there is listed 'XV. Deux vases d'ornement en porcelain de Sèvres gro bleu form ovale allongée avec pieds, culots, anses et gorges à jour de cuivre doré or moulu prisé trois cents francs'. The same inventory also lists: 'trois moyens et petits vases de porcelaine de Sèvres gros bleu non montés prisé vingt quatre francs'..
PIERRE-PHILIPPE THOMIRE (1751-1843)
Pierre-Philippe Thomire, amongst the most celebrated bronzier-ciseleurs of the period, was born into a family of ciseleurs. He worked initially for the renowned bronziers Pierre Gouthière (1732-1813) and Jean-Louis Prieur (d.circa 1785-1790), ciseleur-doreur du roi, and quickly established reputation for finely chased gilt-bronzes. Thomire was responsible for designing and fitting ormolu mounts at the Sèvres factory after Duplessis's death in 1783 and he frequently collaborated with Dominique Daguerre.