Svend Eriksen, "Early Neo-Classicism in France", 1974, p. 363, pl. 242, illustrating a comparable garniture of Sèvres vases à monter formerly in the collection of Mme. Jules Fribourg. Giacomo et Rozenn Wannenes, "Les Bronzes Ornementaux et Les Objets Montes de Louis XIV à Napoléon III", 2004, p. 336, illustrating two sets of garnitures, each with three pot-pourri vases with the same painted rose decorations, one against a blue and the other set against a green background and both sets with different mounts. Linda H. Roth and Clare Le Corbeiller, "French Eighteenth-Century Porcelain at the Wadsworth Atheneum, J. Pierpont Morgan Collection", 2006, p. 156, no. 74, illustrating a garniture comprising five comparable Sèvres vases, formerly in the Pierpont Morgan collection. Shelley M. Bennett and Carolyn Sargentson, "French Art of the Eighteenth Century at the Huntington", 2008, p. 164, cat. no. 59, illustrating a very similar pot-pourri Sèvres vase dated circa1775 with the exact same painted decoration but scrolled handles and a single spreading foot on an octagonal base, in the Arabella D. Huntington Memorial Art Collection. And p. 163, cat. no. 58, illustrating a further pair of gilt bronze mounted Sèvres ewers with the same painted decorations of circa 1775 in the same collection.
A rare and extremely fine pair of Louis XVI gilt bronze mounted Sèvres soft paste porcelain pot-pourri vases, each with a cylindrical straight-sided tapering porcelain body and domed cover decorated with finely painted pink roses in full bloom and also rose buds within white cartouches framed by gilt leaf garlands on a vert printemps ground, the cover with a foliate and seeded finial above a pierced gilt bronze frieze comprised of interlacing foliage and wave motifs, the lower part of the vases each adorned with a stiff leaf mount centred by a seeded boss and supported on three scrolled legs terminated by goats' hooves, upon a concave-sided tripartite base with beaded border, centred by a central rosette mount
Paris, date circa 1770-1775
Height 24.5 cm, diameter 10.5 cm. each.
With their elegantly painted bodies and mounts that resemble an antique athénienne tripod perfume burner, these rare pot-pourri vases typify the quality and refinement in design achieved in the decorative arts of Paris during the latter part of the eighteenth century.
The pair were almost certainly commissioned by one of the important marchand-merciers of the time, probably Simon-Philippe Poirier (1720-85), who held a near-monopoly for such objects at the Sèvres royal porcelain factory. Having purchased the porcelain, he would then oversee the design and creation of the elegant Neo-classical mounts. The Sèvres factory produced vases à monter, or vases intended to be fitted with gilt bronze mounts, from about 1764. Intended to be assembled as garnitures the vases were of three different forms; two with differing dimensions were, as here, of tapering cylindrical form while the third was egg-shaped. The earlier vases were glazed in solid ground colours, particularly blue and green, however by 1770 some, as here, were being decorated with foliate wreaths centred by roses against three main background colours: white, a shade of turquoise blue known as bleu céleste and as here a subtle green known as vert printemps.
Sèvres vases à monter were extremely popular among influential collectors and connoisseurs of the period. During the final decades of the eighteenth century, similar vases were mentioned as having belonged to some of the most important contemporary collectors. Among them was the duchesse de Châtillon, whose probate inventory of 1781 listed "A five piece Sèvres porcelain garniture with a white ground and small coloured roses, comprising four oblong urns, two of which are mounted as vases, the two others as flasks, the middle vase having a cover; all are elaborately decorated with gilt bronze mounts"; that garniture was estimated at 240 livres. Mention should also be made of "Two vases with rose bouquets framed by garlands surrounding, their rims adorned with leaves and ram's heads, their bottoms and feet decorated with leaves, the square plinth made of gilt bronze" which belonged to the wealthy court financier Nicolas Beaujon and were sold at his sale in Paris, 1787.
Several similar models with variations in their gilt bronze mounts, are known today. Among them is a complete garniture incorporating a pair of egg-form vases, a pair of small cylindrical and one large cylindrical vase from the Pierpont Morgan Collection in the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford (Roth and Corbeiller, op.cit.). Of equal prestige are the vases in the Arabella D. Huntington Memorial Art Collection, of which one pot-pourri vase of c.1775, with the same painted decoration but different mounts (Bennett and Sargentson op.cit, no. 59) was one of the last works by the Sèvres flower painter F. Binet (1730-75). Yet another pair of vases, formerly in the collection of Baron James de Rothschild, was sold in Paris at the Palais Galliera, Mes Rheims et Laurin, 1st December 1966, lot 58; those vases, lacking their covers, featured friezes that were identical to those of the present pot-pourri vases. Several further examples were in the collections of Jaime Ortiz-Patino and René Fribourg. Another garniture with roses on a green ground but with different mounts was in the collection of the Earls of Sefton, Croxteth Hall (sold by Christie's, 17-20th September 1973, lot 908). Related pairs, again with slightly different mounts, were in the Keck Collection, La Lanterne, Bel Air, California (sold Sotheby's New York, 4th December 1991, lot 225) as well as in the collection of the Marquesses of Cholmondeley, Houghton, Norfolk, (sold Christie's London, 8th December 1994, lot 38).