Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sevres, Pair of Vases with Candle Holders

20. France, Sèvres, Pair of Vases with Candle Holders “à tête d’élephant” 1756, soft paste porcelain, by Charles-Nicolas Dodin 37.6 x 27.6 cm. (Wallace Collection, London)
Soft-paste porcelain decorated with a green ground, painted with cherubs in the manner of Boucher and gilded. The design is attributed to J-C Duplessis who worked at the factory from 1754-74; these vases may have belonged to Mme. de Pompadour. Porcelain in France develops under court patronage. No source of kaolin was discovered in France until 1768. The earliest commercial soft paste porcelain was made at Saint-Cloud in about 1693. The Chantilly factory, founded by Louis-Henry de Bourbon, prince de Condé in 1730, moved to Vincennes in 1738. At the bequest of Mme. Pompadour, it was moved to Sèvres outside Paris in 1756. Sèvres was granted exclusive privilege to make wares "in the style of Saxony" (Meissen) for 20 years and thus had no need to pursue commercial success. The factory employed hundreds of workers, some of the greatest French artists and had 7 specialist workshops. Completely at the mercy of palace power and intrigue, it produced extremely fashionable decorative objects painted with fantasy, chinoiserie-inspired scenes--potpourris, garnitures, plaques, opera glasses, ice buckets, table wares.
See notes on French porcelain in this blog.

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