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Lidded Vase

Date: ca. 1774
Dimensions:
12 x 6 3/4 x 5 3/8 in. (30.5 x 17.1 x 13.7 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: Duveen label: 28556 / 3
Inscription: Duveen label: 28556 / 3
Object Number: 27.40
Label Text:A plaster model of this form that survives at the Sèvres archives was published in the late nineteenth century with the title vase feuille de laurier, presumably referring to the laurel wreaths decorating the handles. Brunet and Préaud suggest that the shape may relate to the vases à lauriers listed in the Sèvres inventory of new models for 1772. A pair of vases of this same shape at the Walters Art Museum are dated for 1772. Few others are known, and all, like the present example, are undated.
The vase is decorated with an overglaze dark blue (beau bleu) ground color and painted in a colored oval reserve on the front with two naked children in a landscape playing with martial attributes, including a helmet and sword. The back has a white reserve of the same size and shape as that on the front. It is painted in polychrome with a spray of fruit and flowers. The reserves are edged with a gilded band tooled with a slightly different pattern on each-the front reserve is framed by a further narrow gilded band. A pattern of gilded oak garlands frame the top and sides of each reserve, with a spray of laurel along the base of the reserves and garlands of laurel decorating the lid.
The image painted on the front reserve is probably adapted from the work of François Boucher. Although the source for the scene has not been identified, it is very similar in character to images found in the four books, Livres de groupes d'enfants, of six engravings after designs by Boucher. This series was an important source for the children and cherubs painted on Sèvres porcelain between the 1750s and the 1770s. Similar groups of cherubs with martial attributes are painted on the front reserve of a vase à pied de globe (cat. 90) and a vase à glands (cat. 91) at The Huntington, both of about 1770, and on of a pair of vases à boulons at the Wallace Collection, London, of about 1771.
The pedestal is decorated with an unusual pattern of flat gilded bands, similar to that on a pair of vases reliquaire dated for 1774 at the Huntington (cat. no. 94), which are also decorated with similar patterns of gilded garlands of oak and laurel. It seems likely that this vase à lauriers may also have been gilded by Jean-Pierre Boulanger (1722-1785), whose mark appears on the vases reliquaire, and that the three vases were conceived as a garniture; see cat. 94.

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