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Gilding and Decoration

Sèvres soft paste porcelain pot pourri vase. Bleu lapis and green ground overlaid with gilded œil-de-perdrix design. Boat-shaped with out-turned feet; either end tapered stump of bowsprit emerges from the jaws of marine monsters. Lid formed b

Pot-pourri vase and cover (pot-pourri à vaisseau or pot-pourri en navire) ©

Rich gilding and finely tooled decoration was a distinguishing feature of Sèvres porcelain. The techniques included trellis-work, pebbled designs (caillouté), stylised and elaborate foliate motifs and circles of dots. 

The decoration of the vase Boileau is especially accomplished. The bleu lapis caillouté ground and richly tooled and burnished gilding in the full Louis XV style is of particular beauty, according perfectly with the majestic form of the vase and cover.  

For many admirers of Sèvres porcelain, the pot-pourri à vaisseau represents the height of sophistication and constitutes a remarkable combination of the technical mastery of the modellers, répareurs, painters and gilders. Of particular note are the ends of the vase in the form of a bowsprit projecting from the jaws of a marine head. The ornate swirling foliate roundel on the reverse side of the cuvette Mahon illustrates the opulence of the rococo style. 

The rococo-inspired gilded decoration of the 1750s was gradually replaced in the 1760s and 1770s with neo-classical and geometric patterns. Marine and genre scenes (inspired by the Flemish artist David Teniers the Younger) were popular decorative subjects during the 1760s and 1770s and were often repeated on both ornamental and useful wares.