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Lidded Vase [2 of 2]

Date: 1767
Dimensions:
17 3/4 x 7 3/4 x 7 3/4 in. (45.1 x 19.7 x 19.7 cm.)
Medium: soft-paste porcelain, overglaze dark blue ground color, polychrome enamel decoration, gilding
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. The Arabella D. Huntington Memorial Art Collection.
Marks: Both vases-painted marks: in blue enamel, the crossed Ls of the Sèvres manufactory; the date letter O for 1767; the letter k, the mark of Dodin; 1 paper label: inked, 413. . . .; Duveen label: 27385 / 2
Inscription: Both vases-painted marks: in blue enamel, the crossed Ls of the Sèvres manufactory; the date letter O for 1767; the letter k, the mark of Dodin; 1 paper label: inked, 413. . . .; Duveen label: 27385 / 2
Object Number: 23.28
Label Text:Ornamental vases of this large model are rare. The form has not been definitively traced in the factory records and only two other pairs of vases of this shape are known. Various vases flacon were among the new shapes listed in the factory inventories for 1765 and 1766. Bellaigue notes that the term flacon seems to correspond to long-necked lidded vases without spouts and usually without handles. He speculates that the title grand flacon à chainons first listed in 1765 may correspond to the model represented by the Huntington pair because the term à chainons could refer to the three interlocked rings on the lid and the slight handles and foot ring at the base of the pedestal, which are in the form of cords bound with chain links. A vase en flacon of a second size was listed the following year. It may refer to a smaller simplified version of the same form having neither fluting at the base nor rings on the lid. Related smaller shapes introduced in 1766 were the vase flacon à cordes, which had a lid with three interlocking rings, and the vase flacon à rubans.
The Huntington vases are decorated with an overglaze dark blue ground color and painted in colored rectangular reserves on the front with pastoral figural scenes. The back of each vase has a white reserve of the same size and shape as that on the front, each painted in polychrome with three interlocking wreaths suspended from a mauve bowed ribbon. The left vase has a wreath of ivy in the center flanked by one of pink roses on the left and one of mixed summer flowers on the right. The right vase has a wreath of laurel in the center flanked by one of mixed summer flowers on the left and one of pink roses on the right. The reserves are edged with a wide and a narrow tooled gilded band-the tooling on the front bands being more elaborate than that on the bands at the back. The sides of each vase are decorated with a tooled gilded pattern of three interlocking wreaths-roses, oak, and laurel. On the front of each vase above the reserve is a gilded trophy represented as if it is suspended by a ribbon and floral garland from the raised collar at the neck. The trophy on the left vase incorporates a shepherd's crook, an open book of sheet music, two horns, a lute, a bow, and a quiver with arrows. The trophy on the right vase incorporates a shepherd's crook, bagpipe, caduceus, basket of flowers, bow, and quiver with arrows.
The front reserves were painted by Charles-Nicolas Dodin, perhaps the most talented painter at Sèvres, who specialized as a painter of figures, the highest category of subject at the manufactory. As such, he was entrusted with many important and extraordinary commissions. These two scenes are adapted from engravings after paintings by François Boucher.
Both vases have suffered significant damage and have been poorly restored. They have been repaired along a horizontal break running around the entire shoulder roughly in line with the upper edge of the reserve panels. Old repairs with staples in those areas have been reworked-the staples removed and the holes filled and overpainted with blue paint. The damage to the gilding of the side wreaths is particularly noticeable in those areas. The right vase has further extensive damage. It was broken in half vertically below the shoulder through the center of both front and back reserve panels and the pedestal was broken into at least a dozen pieces with many losses. These breaks and losses have been poorly filled and overpainted. Many gilded decorative areas on both vases have been extensively enhanced or overpainted with gold bronzing paint.
The other known examples of vases of the same shape are a pair at the Musée nationale de Céramique, Sèvres, of c. 1768-1770, and a pair in the British Royal Collection of about 1770. Dated for 1767, the Huntington vases may be the earliest examples of this rare form. All three pairs are of approximately the same size and are decorated with a dark blue ground color. The pair at Sèvres has oval reserves on the front by Dodin with scenes after Boucher pastorals: Le Pasteur galant on one and Le Berger récompensé on the other. The pair in England have rectangular reserves on the front decorated with seventeenth-century style peasant genre scenes. On both pairs, the handles, upper, and lower edges of the collar at the neck and foot ring at the base of the pedestal are not fully gilt as are the same elements on the Huntington pair, but are left mostly white. The foot rings are white except for the series of small raised gilded double rings or chain links that are spaced out around the foot. The handles are in the form of double cords that are white except for the gilded double rings or chain links that appear to bind the cords together, the seams of the cords, and the feathering at the top and bottom, where the handles join the vase. The upper and lower edges of the raised collar at the necks are white except for the narrow gilded band that appears to be tied around these edges. It is probable that these same areas on the Huntington vases were not originally fully gilt and that these sections were gilded as part of a later restoration. A gilded trophy of similar character to those on the fronts of the Huntington vases is on the back of a vase cassolette Bachelier at the British Museum, London. It is dated for 1767, and the reserve on the front was painted by Dodin with a pastoral scene after Boucher.

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