A pair of vases à monter
A pair of Louis XVI gilt bronze-mounted Royal Sèvres Porcelain Factory bleu céleste porcelain vases à monter – circa 1780
The soft paste porcelain 18th Century
Height: 27.5 cm. (10 ¾ in.) Width: 16.5 cm. (6 ½ in.)
Width and depth of bases: 7.2 cm. (2 ¾ in.)
At the instigation of the marchand-mercier Simon-Philippe Poirier (1720-1785), Sèvres created vases in different solid colours – dark blue (gros bleu), sky blue (bleu céleste), green and even purple, all in an attempt to imitate Chinese monochrome porcelain wares. A drawing dated 1775 conserved in the archives of the Sèvres factory depicts a “flacon de Mr Poirier / réalisé en fond vert ou bleu de roi” (flask for M. Poirier/executed in either green or royal blue). The dealer would subsequently have it mounted either as a candelabra or a vase. In the same vein, Sèvres supplied at this time different elements to be made into clocks.
In 1777, Poirier passed his business on to Dominique Daguerre (1726-1796) who proceeded to give the Sèvres factory wood models which he wanted executed in porcelain. These pieces were specially conceived to be mounted by the greatest bronziers of the time such as Jean-Claude-Thomas Duplessis fils (1730-1783) and Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843) who transformed them into all manner of objects such as ewers, potpourris or perfume burners.
Other Parisian marchand-merciers featured mounted Sèvres porcelain: Mme Lair and especially Jean Dulac (1704-1786) who came from a family of dealers in the Rue Saint-Honoré and traded under the sign of A la tête d’or (The Golden Head). He purchased large numbers of candle nozzles from the factory for use in light fittings, combining once again porcelain with gilt bronze. The models followed the designs in latest neo-classical taste of decorators such as Delafosse or Richard de Lalonde. In the early 1770s he mainly commissioned cups for mounting (gobelets à monter) which once mounted in gilt bronze gave rise to numerous variations of garnitures of potpourri vases.