A large gilt-bronze mounted Chinese blue powder porcelain covered vase, the porcelain first half of the 18th century, the mounts probably German, circa 1740-1745, marked with the crowned C
- porcelain, gilt-bronze
- Haut. 45 cm; Height 17 3/4 in
- S. M. Benett and C. Sargentson, French art of the 18th century at the Huntington, New Haven/London, 2008, p. 139
- K. Smentek, Rococo Exotic : French Mounted Porcelains and the Allure of the East, New York, 2007, p. 8, fig. 1 ; p. 11, fig. 4 and 5 ; p. 40
- R. Wannenes, Les bronzes ornementaux et les objets montés, de Louis XIV à Napoléon III, Milan, 2004, p. 140
- T. Cell, The Frick collection, an illustrated catalogue, Furniture and gilt bronzes, New York, t. VI, 1992, pp. 302-308 and fig. 15.8.41
The dealers could then enhance these porcelains with gilt and chiseled bronze mounts, made by the best artisans, according to varied themes following the trend for Rococo's exoticism and fantasy: our object presents decor partially pierced with wide foliaged scrollwork on the plinth, extending onto the object's body to form the handles and terminate in small wings. This asymmetrical decoration combines with an ornamentation inviting one to travel: the knops, shaped with a cluster of shells and coral branches, evoke the seabed here. Beyond a great sense of refinement, this thematic choice attests to the interest taken during the 18th century for nature and its curiosities, notably by the development of conchology.
This rare, but very characteristic knop is found in particular on a pair of mounted blue vases at New York's Frick Collection, probably from the Gaillard de Gagny sale on 29 March 1762, lot 41, later entered in the Oppenheim, Duveen, and Frick collections (inv. 15.8.41 and .42), on a vase from the Huntington Collection given to California's Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco (inv. 1927.167ab), on a vase from the Werhner Collection sold at Christie's London on 9 June 1994 (lot 34), and a pair of celadon pots-pourris vases auctioned by Sotheby's Paris on 9 April 2008 from the former collection of Jacques Balsan (lot 98).
(consult non-exhaustive list in K. Smentek, op cit. Appendix p. 43).
An anonymous watercolor drawing from the "Saxe-Teschen" album in the Metropolitan Museum of Art shows a pot-pourri project featuring such a knop, probably serving as a model for decorative art dealers to propose their new models to their clients, unless it was a draft of catalogue of works housed in the Royal Castle of Laeken.