Lot 179
  • 179


15,000 - 25,000 EUR
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  • white marble, gilt-bronze, porcelain
  • Haut. 56 cm., larg. 36 cm., prof. 28 cm. ; Height 22 in., width 14 in., depth 11 in.
Baluster-shaped with two grasps designed as goat heads of gilt ground linked by garlands of laurel leaves in relief, held by bows and framed by four medallions with decoration of bisque porcelain profiles of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette on one vase and the Comte d'Artois and the Comte de Provence on the other vase, framed by laurel branches, aquatic leaf motifs on the rim and base, the small pedestal outlined with a wide threading of gilt ground bearing the inscriptions: « Cuit au charbon de terre épuré à la manufacture de Mgr. comte d'Artois Faubourg St Denis le 8 février 1783 » (Fired with purified earth coal in the manufacture of Mgr. comte d'Artois Faubourg Saint- Denis 8 February 8 1783) on one and « Cuit au charbon de terre épuré à la manufacture de Mgr. comte d'Artois Faubourg St Denis le 8 mars 1783 » on the other, the rims enhanced with gilt bronze edging with eggs and darts pattern in relief, atop white marble base; (few older restorations along the grasps and bows)


Le vase daté du 8 février 1783 très certainement offert par la manufacture du comte d'Artois au roi Louis XVI


Literature :
R. de Plinval de Guillebon, Porcelaine Française au musée du Louvre, Paris, 1992, pp. 208-209, pp. 211-214


Vase with portrait profil of comte d'Artois and comte de ProvenceRestoration on both end of ribbons above medallions. Restoration at the end of a goat horn. Restoration of both ears of a goat. Possibly some restoration to the gilding at the top of the foot, the gilding is there slightly more red than on the rest of the vase, but it can be a deliberate different colour of gilding. Cover missing. Vase with portrait profils of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVIPlease note that the profil of Louis XVI is a plaster later replacement. One horn broken and restored, possibly some regilding on horns. A small upraising on top of the the foot on the gilded line. Possibly some restoration to the gilding at the top of the foot, the gilding is there slightly more red than on the rest of the vase, but it can be a deliberate different colour of gilding. Cover missing.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

The management of the Parisian Manufactory on rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, under the protection of the Comte d’Artois, was taken over at the end of 1781 by Louis Joseph Bourdon des Planches, advisor to the King, first clerk of the Intendant des finances Langlois and clerk of the extraordinary commissions for the King’s Council. After late October 1782, Bourdon des Planches carried out experiments of firing with refined coal, the first in France, to make up for the lack of firewood. On 13 December  1782, the commissioners Macquer, Mitouard, Le Roy, Sage and d'Arcet, went to the factory, observed the firing tests and drafted a visit report of Mr. Bourdon des Planches’s porcelain kiln. Following this meeting, the commissioner Le Roy addressed to the Comte d'Angiviller a project derived from the refined coal kiln that could be used at the Royal Manufactory of Sèvres.

Undoubtedly to unveil the benefits of his process and the porcelain’s quality to the sovereign, Bourdon des Planches offered a vase to King Louis XVI at the beginning of 1783. A memoir kept in the national archives specifies: « qu’au mois de février 1783, [Bourdon des Planches] que son zèle avait porté à tenter un moyen de cuire la Porcelaine sans le secours du bois & qui y est parvenu, a fait présenter à Sa Majesté un vase cuit par ce moyen et qui réunissait la grandeur, le relief, le rond de bosse, l’or incrusté & tous les autres ornemens dont la Manufacture de Sèves prétend pouvoir seule et exclusivement, décorer ses fabrications. Sa Majesté reçu avec bonté ce vase, le fit placer dans ses appartements sur l’une de ses cheminées, où il est resté exposé plusieurs mois aux yeux des curieux, sans que Sa Majesté ni les administrateurs de la Manufacture Royale aient regardé sa confection comme une entreprise sur les privilèges de la Manufacture Royale. Ce vase portrait une inscription cependant d’après laquelle il n’était pas possible de douter ni qu’il eut été fait dans l’une des manufactures particulières ni quelle était cette Manufacture. Il portait en gros caractères & en Lettres d’or, ces mots, Cuit au charbon de terre épuré dans la Manufacture de Mgr comte d’Artois le 8 février 1783. » (in the month of February, 1783, [Bourdon des Planches], whose zeal had led him to attempt a means of firing Porcelain without the aid of wood, and which he had succeeded in doing so, had presented to his Majesty a vase, fired by this means, which united the grandeur, the relief, the sculpting in round, the inlaid gold, and all the other ornaments of which the Manufacture de Sèvres claims to be the only one able and exclusively, to decorate his fabrications. His Majesty received this vase with kindness, had it placed in his apartments on one of his chimneys, where it remained displayed several months for curious onlookers, without his Majesty nor the administrators of the Royal Manufactory having regarded his confection as a company within the privileges of the Royal Manufactory. This vase bears an inscription, however, according to which it was not possible to doubt, nor whether it had been made in one of the particular manufactories, nor was of the Manufactory. It bore in large letters & in gilt letters of, these words, Fired with purified earth coal in the Manufactory of Mgr Comte d'Artois on 8 February 1783) (Arch. Nat. F12 1494, 154, cited by Régine de Plinval de Guillebon in the catalogue Porcelaine Française au musée du Louvre, 1992, pp. 208-209).

Our vase dated 8 February 1783, bearing the portraits of the royal couple is certainly the vase offered to King Louis XVI and exhibited in his apartments. The second vase, dated 8 March 1783, may have been offered to the Comte d'Artois, or rather to the King again, to serve as a match for the first, their presence together currently still supports this second theory.

Three copies of Bourdon des Planches’s written work published in 1785 titled Projet nouveau sur la manière de faire utilement en France le commerce des grains (New project on how to use the grain trade in France) are covered with porcelain dishes from the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis Manufactory. One in the collections of the Sèvres Museum, bears France’s coat of arms under a royal crown on the lower bookplate. The second housed in France’s National Library is adorned with the sons of France crown and is from the library of the Comte d’Artois. The third, with scraped coat of arms, was recently sold (auction, Paris, Drouot, Mes Binoche and Giquello and Pierre Bergé and associates, 14 February 2018, lot 109). These copies were also certainly gifts from Louis Joseph Bourdon des Planches to the royal family.

A pair of vases with a blue ground and a white band, decorated with enamels by Jean Joseph Coteau, of the Manufactory of the Comte d'Artois, bear underneath the inscription Cuit au charbon de terre le 11 août 1783 (fired by earth coal on 11 August 1783). They are kept at the Louvre (inv. OA7738 and 7739, reproduced by Régine de Plinval of Guillebon, op.cit., No. 74, p.)