A monumental porcelain vase, Imperial Porcelain Factory, St Petersburg, 1857
of bandeau form with cylindrical neck and flared foot, on a square gilt-bronze base, the central register painted in
imitation of diamond bugnato, with a rounded arch framing a panel based on the Childhood of the Virgin by Francisco
de Zurbarán, (1658-1660 in the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg) inscribed on the lower left 'After the picture by
Zurbarán' and lower right 'E. Daladugin 1857', the reverse panel painted with gold stylised branches interlocking a
cream flower garland with five putti heads, the lower register gilded and decorated with bas-relief flowers and foliage,
the scroll handles issuing from acanthus leaves and terminating in flower finials, apparently unmarked
height 101.6cm, 40in.
Overall in good condition and of good appearance.
The vase is constructed in four sections, with ormolu mounts and joined by a central bolt. Each handle is porcelain and typically constructed in four parts.
There is a scuff to the gilding on the neck below the winged cherub heads with white porcelain showing through below. Some light surface scratching to the gilding and some light the edge of the base of the neck.
The main body in good order. With light scratching to the gilding around the shoulder and some wear around the shoulder where the handle is mounted.
The lower section molded with leaves and berries has some slight rubbing to the upper molded parts.
The foot with slight rubbing to the gilding on the raised buds and to the sharp edges of the stepped sections. The ormolu base with wear to the upper part, likely from cleaning over the years.
Each section of the handles has been cemented together and the joints have been retouched by gilding. This appears to be later than the date of manufacture. The right handle has a minute chip to one acanthus leaf, but no other obvious damages apparent.
There are gilt metal collars to the lower part of the neck, the lower mid-section and the joint to the foots; these have not been removed to examine the porcelain between mounts. The central bolts appear to be original, however, the vase has not been dismantled.
"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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Emblematic of the excellency of the Imperial Porcelain Factory's production, this sumptuous vase is one the last pieces created in the lavish style popularised during the reign of Nicholas I. The beginning of the 19th century saw the expansion of new technical and artistic achievements in painting and form at the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, which reached their peak in the late eighteen fifties, when this vase was created.
During this time, large and exceptionally crafted vases such as the present lot were commissioned as diplomatic gifts or as presents to be given within the Imperial family on special occasions. One of the favoured traditions of this period was the incorporation of copied canvases in the porcelain design, together with elements borrowed from architecture and decor of the era. Vases were particularly popular both in the Medici and the bandeau form, with a large central area of the body that allowed them to be treated as a canvas – something that factory artists enthusiastically took advantage of to display their work. When decorating vases such as this one, the accomplished master craftsmen from the Imperial Porcelain Factory would seek inspiration among the rich plethora of paintings and decorative arts in the Hermitage Museum. Spanish, Dutch and Italian Old Masters were then transposed on porcelain with the utmost virtuosity, demonstrating the unrivalled level of skill acquired by porcelain painters during this time.
This vase exemplifies the final peak of the classical grand traditions in Imperial porcelain. After the ascension of Alexander II to the throne, the commission of large porcelain pieces dwindled, and the personal tastes of Empress Maria Alexandrovna shifted the porcelain trends into new directions. And even though the second half of the 19th century saw the production of new original forms and designs, very few of them matched the splendour and the scale of the style of earlier periods, so characteristically illustrated in the design and execution of the present lot.