The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Pot-pourri vase
  • Pot-pourri vase
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France and China
  • c. 1750 (French mounts)
    1662 - 1722 (Chinese porcelain)
  • Porcelain, gilt bronze, gold paint and enamel
  • Height: 28 cm
    Width: 29.5 cm
  • F118
  • Small Drawing Room
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • As well as being beautiful porcelain objects, these pot-pourri vases (F117 and F118) are further testament to the ingenuity of designers of luxury objects in Paris in the mid-eighteenth century. The bowls and covers are not complete ceramic vessels but have been cut down from two triple gourd vases, larger Chinese porcelain vases that date from the Kangxi period (1662-1722). Evidently imported and then cut in France, the porcelain has been mounted in highly fashionable gilt bronze which includes motifs of leaves and seed-pods, asymmetrical scrolls and bulrushes and which has transformed the Oriental vases into chic objects of Parisian decorative art. This fashion combined the luxury of Chinese porcelain with the taste for gilt bronze and was promoted by the marchands merciers, or luxury goods dealers, who sold these objects and who played an important role as leaders of taste. The makers of the gilt bronze remain anonymous but a number of pieces of Chinese and Japanese porcelain are known which have mounts of the design, which may indicate that they were made in the same workshop or that a dealer owned the master models and commissioned examples from different metal workers.