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Léonard Morel-Ladeuil (1820-1888)
French, 19th century


EWER AND BASIN
signed: MOREL LADEUIL
gilt and silvered metal
66cm., 26in. 
basin: 53cm., 20 7/8 in. diameter
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This elaborately decorated ewer depicts the 'Dance of the Wilis' on its central frieze, relating to the story of Giselle in the well-known Romantic ballet. The Wilis, legendary spirits of women slighted by men, central to the story of Giselle, are engaged in a wild dance, one of the spirits perching on the handle, while an owl overlooks the whole ensemble. The basin, decorated with a snake, a frog and a lizard, represents a pond, the base of the ewer a lily pad. The present piece is described in Leon Morel’s catalogue raisonné as ‘vase-ewer and basin in molten silver’ (op. cit. p. 190) and is further mentioned in the catalogue of Morel-Ladeuil’s goldsmith work (Catalogue Complet […] p. 39, no. 2).

Léonard Morel-Ladeuil was born in 1820 to a family of master tailors, and moved to Paris where he was taught by his cousin. He later apprenticed with the sculptor Jean-Jacques Feuchère. In 1859, Morel-Ladeuil moved to Birmingham, where he worked with British manufacturers Elkington & Co for over 20 years. He exhibited works at the Great Exhibitions of Paris, Vienna and Philadelphia, winning numerous medals. 

RELATED LITERATURE
L. Morel, L'oeuvre de Morel-Ladeuil: Sculpteur-Ciseleur 1820-1888, Paris, 1904, p. 190; Catalogue Complet des Oevres d’Orfèvrerie de Morel-Ladeuil de 1851 à 1888, Paris, p. 39.

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