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Three volumes covering all French porcelain in the Royal Collection

Sèvres porcelain factory

Vase à panneaux or vase à perles 1780?

Soft-paste porcelain, beau bleu ground, gilded decoration and gilt bronze | 56 x 26.7 x 21.1 cm (including mounts) | RCIN 2292

Music Room, Buckingham Palace

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Sèvres soft paste porcelain vase and cover. Beau bleu ground and gilded decoration with rim encircled by white beads, angular handles, splayed foot on (later) square base, cover gadrooned and with gilt knop. Front reserve with polychrome painting of a quayside scene, naval trophies on the reverse. The front reserve of the vase depicts a conventional marine scene: an officer wearing a tricorn hat directs sailors shifting cargo on the quayside. The scene may have been painted by Jean-Baptiste-Etienne Genest (active 1752-88). Like his contemporary Jean-Louis Morin (active 1754-87), Genest was recognised as a specialist in this genre. The trophy on the back, possibly painted by Charles Buteux l’aîné père, incorporates complementary marine elements, including Neptune’s trident, a shield emblazoned with a dolphin, a furled sail and a trumpet. Of particular note is the richly gilded decoration, skilfully enhanced with delicate tooling. This is a distinguishing feature of the work of Etienne-Henry Le Guay père, who was acknowledged as one of the finest gilders at the manufactory in the eighteenth century. The vase is a version of the fifth and final variant design of the vases à panneaux, which is known to date from 1779. One characteristic of this variant is that it is fitted with a square porcelain plinth. Text adapted from French Porcelain for English Palaces, Sèvres from the Royal Collection, London, 2009