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Lidded Vase

Date: ca. 1770
Dimensions:
17 x 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (43.2 x 24.1 x 19.1 cm.)
Medium: soft-paste porcelain, overglaze turquoise-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: Incised marks: a scrolling N and a C+D; Duveen label: 28395
Inscription: Incised marks: a scrolling N and a C+D; Duveen label: 28395
Object Number: 27.131
Label Text:The vase à glands model was in production at Sèvres by 1768. It was made in two sizes with slight variations, however few surviving examples are known and this one is of the first or largest size. Only two other examples of this specific model are known in this same size, one, dated for 1768, with a bleu Fallot ground and incrusté polychrome flowers and fruit; the other, dating to about 1781, with a green ground, colored front reserve depicting Venus and Adonis, and white back reserve with a polychrome military trophy. The title refers to the glands or tassels at the ends of the cords running down the sides of the vase. The shape is also referred to in the factory's sales records as vase à cordons.
The vase is decorated with an overglaze turquoise-blue (bleu céleste) ground color and painted in a colored reserve on the front with two cherubs on a cloud and carrying a plumed helmet. The back has a white reserve of the same size and shape as that on the front. It is painted in polychrome with three interlocking wreaths (roses, cornflowers, and myrtle leaves) tied and suspended by a mauve ribbon bow. The reserves are edged with a gilded band, that on the front having a more elaborate tooled pattern than that on the back. A pattern of gilded oak garlands frames the front reserve and encircles the pedestal.
The image painted on the front reserve is adapted from the work of François Boucher (1703-1770). For a discussion of Boucher's work as a source for Sèvres artists, see the essay by Jeffrey Weaver, and as a source for tapestry designs, see the essay by Charissa Bremer-David, both in this volume. Similar pairs of cherubs with martial attributes are painted on the front reserves of a vase à pied de globe (cat. 90) and a vase à laurier (cat. 93) at the Huntington, and on a pair of vases à boulons of c. 1771 with turquoise-blue grounds at the Wallace Collection, London.
The Huntington vase à glands was probably part of a larger suite of vases of different forms with related decoration. It could have formed a set with the pair of vases à boulons along with a pair of vases à flame. Such large sets of ornamental vases are known to have accompanied grand dinner or dessert services. One such service given by Louis XV to the future king Gustave III of Sweden in 1771 was decorated with a turquoise-blue ground with gilded oak garlands and glands. It included ten ornamental vases. Savill suggests that the Huntington vase may have been one of a pair sold on April 12, 1775, for 720 livres each to the conde d'Aranda, the Spanish ambassador in Paris c. 1774-1784. Two vases à cordons were sold with a pair of vases griffes and a pair of vases à flame, all with turquoise-blue grounds, to accompany a dessert service with matching decoration.
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