The Wallace Collection

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Vase 'à médallion du roi'
  • Vase and Cover
  • Vase 'à médallion du roi'
  • Manufacture de Sèvres
  • Possibly Jean-Claude Chambellan Duplessis, the Elder (1695 - 1774), Designer
  • Sèvres, France
  • c. 1768
  • Soft-paste porcelain, enamel and gilt-bronze, gilded
  • Object size: 37.5 x 21.7 cm
  • Incised mark: A scrolling 'CD'
    Inscription: 'Le Paute à Paris'
  • C305
  • Back State Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This lavish vase derives its name from the large portrait medallion of King Louis XV, prominently placed in the centre and framed by a laurel wreath. Executed in biscuit (unglazed) porcelain, it shows the King as a young man - he was in his late 50’s when the vase was made - and follows a design by sculptor Edme Bouchardon which was first cast in bronze in 1738.
    The model was introduced in 1767 and is probably the first to include such a portrait of the king who had become Sèvres sole owner in 1759. The cover, surmounted by the emblem of French royalty, fleur de lys, is in the form of a French royal crown and closely resembles the decoration on a Sèvres inkstand also in the Wallace Collection (see C488), designed by Jean-Claude Duplessis, who may also have been responsible for this model.
    The clock dial on the back, although signed by 18th-century clockmaker Jean Lepautre, is presumably a later addition and might have replaced a second portrait medallion.
    Only two other examples of this model are known, and while one in the Royal Collection may have belonged to the King’s mistress Madame du Barry, this vase is likely to have been presented (possibly with two green-ground vases now at the Walters Art Museum) to King Christian VII of Denmark by Louis XV himself in 1768. During his sojourn in France that year, Christian had visited the Sèvres manufactory and also received a dinner service. Porcelain objects were often given as diplomatic gifts, serving not only as a sign of special recognition, but also demonstrating the virtuosity of the King’s royal porcelain manufactory.