The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Vase and cover
  • Vase and cover
  • Giovanni Battista Pozzi (active between: late 17th century)
  • France
  • c. 1684
  • Porphyry
  • Height: 72.5 cm
    Width: 56 cm
  • F363
  • Porphyry Court
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • During the seventeenth century, a fashion developed amongst French connoisseurs and collectors for hardstone vases, and for hardstone objects more generally, such as marble busts. Marble and porphyry had been used extensively by the Romans, and some of these prized objects were Antique, from Ancient Rome, or were carved from architectural fragments, such as columns, that were found in 17th-century Rome. Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin both had examples in their collections, some of which were bequeathed to Louis XIV after Mazarin’s death in 1661. Louis shared this passion, and acquired a large number of hardstone vases that he had agents acquire in Rome on his behalf. This vase, one of a pair with F362, is an example of a vase carved in the 1680s in Rome from old porphyry. It was commissioned under the auspices of Matthieu La Teulière, the Director of the French Academy in Rome, and displayed by Louis in the Hall of Mirrors in the Chateau of Versailles. The pair was presumably carved by Giovanni Battista Pozzi, who received part payments for them in December 1684 and January 1685. The original covers on the vases remain on a pair of vases still at Versailles.