The design for this pair derives from two pairs, the ormolu probably by Gouthière, from the collection of Richard Mique. Richard Mique (1728-1794), the architect of Marie Leszczynska, the Mesdames de France and Marie-Antoinette for whom he designed the Hameau at the Petit Trianon, was guillotined in 1794, his property confiscated by the authorities, the vases sent to Versailles and then to the Tuilleries. One pair, in green porphyry, incorporating snake handles, is in the Louvre (D. Alcouffe, et al., Gilt Bronzes in the Louvre, Dijon, 2004, p. 226). The other pair, also in porphyry and decorated with rams' masks in places of the snakes, is in the Mobilier National, Paris (M. de Raïssac, Quatre Vases en Porphyre de la Collection Richard Mique, Revue du Louvre 5-1990, pp. 386-390).
The design of the Mique vases would indicate a date of around 1780 for their fabrication. The pair of vases in serpentine marble bought by Louis XVI from the collection of the Duc d'Aumont in 1782 and now in the Louvre (D. Alcoufe et al., op. cit., p. 242) are mounted with rams' head mounts. A porphyry vase in the Wallace Collection (F. 355) and the pair of vases in petrified wood from Marie-Antoinette's apartments at Versailles, and now in the Musée Nissim de Camondo, are mounted with similar entwined serpents.
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