The One

The One

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 13. The Hope Cup. A magnificent gold, enamel and hardstone vase, Jean-Valentin Morel, Paris, 1855, made for the Exposition Universelle .

Property from an Important Private Collection

The Hope Cup. A magnificent gold, enamel and hardstone vase, Jean-Valentin Morel, Paris, 1855, made for the Exposition Universelle

Auction Closed

February 2, 03:31 PM GMT


1,800,000 - 2,500,000 USD

Lot Details


the bloodstone body carved in the form of a nautilus shell cup, the richly-gilt spout carved in matted bloodstone as Medusa’s head, her hair formed of four venomous snakes, their twirling bodies enamelled in translucent dark green, silvery blue and dark blue over scale engine-turning, the head flanked by colourfully-enamelled wings, the surrounding openwork gilt-metal mount enamelled with stylised tulips around enamel cabochons, embellished with two large c-scrolls interlaced with two bands in high relief, decorated with a turquoise enamel bead border, the spout mount to the interior of the bowl terminating in strapwork around a translucent red enamel cabochon, fluted top within opaque white enamel border;

a blond putto holding a gold-veined pale blue enamel globe seated on each side of the top rim, their legs crossed over a white enamel banner inscribed with the Hope family motto reading ‘At spes non fracta,’ the top of the vase applied with a gold-coloured cloud to one side, supporting the majestic pale blue and grey enamelled Pegasus, dashing forward under the command of Perseus, armed with the polished shield of Athena, Medusa's reflection represented in bright enamel colours, the steel-blue tip of his outstretched gold lance in his right hand, leaning forward in his gilt enamel harness, wearing the invisibility cap and Hermes' winged sandals decorated in translucent dark green cloisonné enamel, ready to attack the sea monster Cetus clutching on to the hardstone ground with spread gold claws, hissing at Perseus with its jaw wide open, revealing a forked gold tongue, the head and body enamelled in the most unusual blues and pale greens with dark pink dots, the spiky wings transitioning from translucent red to dark blue on the exterior, and opaque pastel yellow, pale blue, mint green and flesh colour to the interior of the wings;

the tail wildly twirling towards the bloodstone stem of the vase, boldly carved as rockery, to which Andromeda is tied in gold chains, modelled in the round, below her six nereids with elaborately enamelled gold-scaled tails, probably lamenting the looming death of the sea monster achieved by the enamelled figure of Perseus on the opposite side of the stem, holding the decapitated and painfully distorted head of Medusa in his left hand and a gold sword in his right, the nereids on the lower tier partially covered by an undulating green enamel foliage of fern and seaweed, on an oval silver-gilt foot applied with enamelled silver strapwork of remarkable scale, including opaque white enamel scrolls decorated with green vine leaves and stylised pea pods in earlier style, around four classical masks in high relief, the male ones enamelled in the colours of the rainbow with a dark blue and white beard, the female masks as gold-haired creatures with rosy cheeks, their foreheads decorated with a dark green jewel ornament, signed and dated: Morel, 1855,

65cm., 25 1/2in. high; overall weight circa 16kg

Commissioned by Henry Thomas Hope (1808-1862) in 1853;

The Property of Lord Francis Hope (1866-1941);

sold Christie's London, 18 July 1917;

Collection of Mrs. Frank Isitt (1878-1970);

sold Christie's London, 5July 1937;

Collection of Claude Aldo de Bernales (1876-1963), London;

Duveen, New York;

Sotheby's London, 5 December 1960, lot 63

Charity auction at Hartmann Galleries, New York, 1969

Duveen Brothers Inc., The Hope Vase, Jean-Valentin Morel, Paris 1855, New York;

V. Champier, Revue des Arts Decoratifs, 1888, p. 170;

L. Dussieux, Les Artistes Français à l'étranger: Recherches sur leurs Travaux et sur leur Influence en Europe; Précédés d'un Essai sur les Origines et le Développement des Arts en France, Paris, 1876, p. 160;

Exposition Universelle, Catalogue officiel publie par ordre de la commission imperiale : Exposition des produits de l'industrie de toutes les nations, 2e édition, Paris, 1855, no. 5104;

I. Lucas, 'Jean-Valentin Morel and the Revival of the Lapidary's Art,' Apollo Magazine, vol. 161, issue 515, 2005, illustrated p. 53;

G. Munn, Wartski: The First One-Hundred and Fifty Years, Suffolk, 2015, illustrated p. 207;

Musee Carnavalet, Chaumet Paris: Two Centuries of Fine Jewellery, Paris, 1998, illustrated pl. III-33;

Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Second Empire 1852-1870: Art under Napoleon III, 1978, illustrated p. 71;

D. Scarisbrick, Chaumet: Master Jeweller Since 1780, Paris, 1995, p. 120;

H. Vever, 'Revue de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie, Orfèvrerie,' Publication Mensuelle Illustrie no.55, Paris, 1904, p. 221;

H. Vever, La Bijouterie Francaise au XIX Siecle (1800-1900) vol.1, Paris, 1906, p. 275;

Wartski, A Thousand Years of Enamel, London, 1971, illustrated pl.134

For further reading on Jean-Valentin Morel see: 

S. Bury, Jewellery 1789-1910 The International Era Volume 1 1789-1861, England, 1991, p. 326;

A. Dion-Tenenbaum, ‘La Renaissance de l'Email sous la Monarchie de Juillet,’ Bibliothèque de l'École des Chartes, no. 163, 2005, p. 157-158

I. Lucas, 'Itinéraire d'un Orfèvre d'Exception Valentin Morel', L'Objet d'Art, no. 330, 2000;

C. Robin, Histoire Ilustrie de l'Exposition Universelle, par Catagories d'Idustries, avec Notices sur les Exposants, Paris, 1855 p. 315

Exposition Universelle, Palais de l'Industrie, Paris, 15 May-15 November 1855, no. 5104, p. 115;

A Thousand Years of Enamel, Wartski, London, 18 May-June 5 1971, no. 134;

The Second Empire 1852-1870: Art under Napoleon III, Philadelphia Museum of Art, October-November 1978, Grand Palais, April-July 1979, Paris/Philadelphia, no.III-33;

The Exhibition of Exhibitions, London 1851 - Paris 1989, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, May-October 1983;

Chaumet Paris, Deux Siecles de Creation, Musee Carnavalet, Paris, March 25-June 28 1998, no.88, p.70;

Les Mondes du Chaumet: L'art de La Joaillerie Depuis 1780, Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, Tokyo, 28 June-17 September 2018