DescriptionA Pair of French Louis XV Style Gilt Bronze Mounted Chinese Crackle-Glazed Porcelain Ewers
Unknown makers, France and China
Porcelain and gilt bronze
23 in. high
Each of pear shape with a band of brown-biscuit ruyi flanking geometric meander, the lip with a scalloped mount with central male mask amid bullrushes beneath the S-scroll-cast mouth and further acanthus and C-scroll motifs behind, the similar upspringing handle mounted by a winged dragon, each on a spreading pierced foliate and floral-cast base, possibly reduced in height, the vase probably previously with animal masks, now removed and covered by the gilt bronze mounts.
This pair of ewers is inspired by a small group of similar vessels that combined Chinese porcelains with Chinoiserie dragon-mounted ormolu handles. Interestingly Gabriel de Saint-Aubin drew a ewer of very similar design into the margins of the F. Gaignat sale catalogue of 14 February 1769. Surviving examples of similar form from the Eighteenth century include a pair of gilt bronze mounted Kangxi vases surmounted by dragons, originally from the Duc d'Aumont collection, and a garniture incorporating very similar crackle grey celadon porcelain of the Eighteenth century, in the Louvre (D. Alcouffe, et al., Gilt bronzes in the Louvre, Dijon, 2004, cats. 40 - 42, pp. 89 - 93). A further similar dragon-mounted Chinese celadon porcelain vase is illustrated in F.J.B. Watson, The Wrightsman Collection, Greenwich, 1966, vol. II, cat. 242, p. 432.
The fashion for ewers of this design experienced a strong revival in the Nineteenth century. A pair of ewers with very closely related mounts and Chinese porcelain of circa 1830 was sold anonymously, Christie's, New York, 24 May 2000, lot 291. The chasing on the mounts of that pair was typically English and they could be confidently attributed to the English marchand-mercier Edward Holmes Baldock (d. 1846). Baldock almost invariably used an Eighteenth century prototype for ormolu mounts that he retailed, and it may be possible that he took inspiration from the nearly identical pair of Louis XV ewers, formerly in the collection of Count Hector Baltazzi in Paris and subsequently acquired by Duveen for Mrs. Anna Thomson Dodge, that was sold at Christie's, London, 24 June 1971, lot 13.
Condition report available upon request.
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