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Sèvres porcelain factory

Vase ferrés c. 1780-81

Soft-paste porcelain, bleu nouveau ground, gilded decoration and gilt bronze | .1 49.5 x 19.1 x 19.1, .2 50 x 18.9 x 19.0 cm (parts .a and .b together) | RCIN 2286

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  • Sèvres soft paste porcelain pair of vases. Bleu nouveau ground and gilded decoration, with incurved collar and cover with pine cone finial above intrerlaced rim, splayed gadrooned foot edged with beading and laurel wreath mounted on square base with canted corners. This pair of vases both have four reserves and are painted with a quayside scene on the front, a marine trophy on the back, and fruit and flowers on the ends. On the front of the vase to the left a sailor, seated on a bundle and resting his arm on a crate marked ‘N0 5’, is smoking a pipe as he converses with a standing figure. The former is wearing a blue waistcoat and pink- and white-striped trousers, the latter an orange waistcoat and trousers striped in red, pink and white. In the background are four sailors, two standing beside a vessel tied up at the quay, whose furled lateen sail is all that is visible. On the vase to the right a sailor is directing two companions who are moving barrels, bales and crates. The standing figure is dressed in a blue waistcoat, a pale yellow sash and blue- and white-striped trousers. The sailor bent double is wearing a striped mauve and white waistcoat and orange trousers. The figure with his back turned has an orange waistcoat and pink trousers. In the background sailors are to be seen loading a ship. The trophies are each suspended on a mauve ribbon partially concealing a metallic chain. On the vase to the left the trophy is composed of a laurel wreath, two pennants, a rudder, an octagonal shield charged with thunder, a quiver of arrows, a telescope, a barrel, pole arms, an openwork cage filled with cannon balls, a ram rod, and an open book; on the left-hand page of this last is drawn a sextant and a seated female figure resting her hand on the globe, and on the right-hand page is inscribed: ‘CONNOISSANCE DES TEMPS [1] 781’; a reference to the publication of astronomical charts and tables recording the changing position of the sun, moon and planets. First printed in 1679, principally for the benefit of astronomers and mariners, it was issued on an annual basis. On the vase to the right the trophy is made up of a laurel-wreathed helmet, a pennant, two round targets, a cannon, a sheathed sword, an anchor, a telescope, ram rods, an axe, fasces, a trumpet, palm branch and a partly furled sail. Text adapted from French Porcelain: In the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, London, 2009

    Possibly part of a garniture bought in Paris by François Benois in December 1815 for George IV from the widow of the francophile collector and man of letters Quintin Craufurd (d. 23 November 1819). The statement of account made out in the name of ‘Madame Cruford’ is endorsed 15 May 1820 (‘3 Vazes de Sevres fond Bleu, medaillons de marines et trophée’).

    Recorded in 1826 in the Ante Room to the Dining Room, Basement Storey, Carlton House: ‘No.93. A pair of blue gold and white Seve Porcelain Vases and Covers, with hop tops, beaded and fluted stems and wreathed bases, the front compartments painted after Vernet in Marine Views; the backs in Marine Trophies, the sides in flowers – 17 In. high’.

  • Medium and techniques

    Soft-paste porcelain, bleu nouveau ground, gilded decoration and gilt bronze


    .1 49.5 x 19.1 x 19.1, .2 50 x 18.9 x 19.0 cm (parts .a and .b together)

  • Place of Production

    Sèvres [France]