Our three-piece garniture, comprising two ovoid vases and one covered incense burner of green, soft porcelain from Sèvres, is a model attributed to the dealer Jean Dulac. The latter, descended from a family of decorative art dealers, became "merchant-glover-perfumer" before 1740 and marchand privilégié du Roi [privileged dealer to the King] on 16 May 1753. Established on rue Saint-Honoré, he specialized in the sale of Sèvres porcelain. More known for his bell-shaped vases, he delivered to important clients, including a pair of vases to the King of Poland. This pair of vases is still part of the Lazienski Palace (consult P. Verlet, Les bronzes français du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1987, pp. 72-73).
Around 1763, the Sèvres manufactory produced vases of Far Eastern inspiration bought without mountings by dealers such as Dulac, Grouel, and Poirier. They could then order the mountings by bronze artisans with whom they employed regularly. Note that these vases usually do not bear the Sèvres mark, but the name of Dulac appears many times in the registers of the manufactory between 1758 and 1776, during which period he acquired a very large number of porcelain vases in green, blue, and aubergine.
The central vase, decorated with masks of bearded satyrs, garlands of laurel leaves, beads, ribbons, and friezes of stacked coins is very close to a pair at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire (ill. in Eriksen, Early Neo-classicism in France, London, pp. 362, pp. 238). Some slight differences in the bronzes can be noted, especially concerning the laurel leaf garlands held between the satyr heads and the plinth, ornated with Greek motifs on the examples from the Rothschild collections. There are also several similar auctioned vases such as the one sold in Christie's, New York on 21 October 1997 (lot 277); that of Sir John Gooch collection at Benacre Hall, Suffolk (Sotheby's, 9 and 11 May 2000, lot 48); or the pair from the Lily and Edmond Safra collection auctioned by Sotheby's, New York, on 18 October 2011 (lot 973). Another example, in blue porcelain this time, is kept at The Vyne in Hampshire. It was acquired by Horace Walpole in Paris from Dulac, in 1765-1766, for his friend John Chute. In his travel diary A Journal of My Journey to Paris, 1765, the author describes with humor "that extravagant and expensive shop", where one found much sought after items by many members of French, English, and Russian aristocracies. Another blue vase with a similar mounting was presented in the Artcurial auction, Paris, 15 December 2010, lot 35 and perhaps corresponds to one formerly part of Galerie Michel Meyer illustrated in the exhibition book, La Folie d'Artois, Paris, 1988, p. 196. This same gallery also proposed in its catalogue dated 2000 a pair of resembling vases in coral-red lacquer from the former Pierre Lebaudy collection. The mounting remains almost unchanged for a pair of coconut vases (Picard auction, Paris, 29 November 1992, lot 55).
The lateral vases are very close to a pair housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (inv. 1978.12.4 and .5). The mounting and green porcelain are similar but the pair from New York is atop a square counter-plinth with indented angles.
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