The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Vase 'à oreilles', of the first size
  • Pair of Vases
  • Vase 'à oreilles', of the first size
  • Manufacture de Vincennes
  • Probably Jean-Claude Chambellan Duplessis, the Elder (1695 - 1774), Designer
  • Vincennes, France
  • 1756 (vase)
  • Soft-paste porcelain, painted and gilded
  • Object size: 30.1 x 16.9 cm
  • Factory mark: Interlaced Ls enclosing 'C' the date letter for 1756
    Incised mark: 'ml'
    Incised mark: '2'
    Incised mark: '3'
  • C241-2
  • Back State Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This popular model was introduced in 1754 by chief-designer Jean-Claude Duplessis père (op. 1748-1774) and remained in production until the 1790s. The design was probably inspired by Chinese vases in the stock of the Parisian dealer Lazare Duvaux, which were listed as 'à oreilles' ('oreille' means 'ear' in French).
    Both vases are decorated with a turquoise blue 'bleu céleste' ground colour, which was introduced in 1753 for Louis XV’s first major dinner service from the manufactory and was also the most costly colour to be produced in the eighteenth century. The pairs of cherubs painted on both sides represent the elements: Fire and Water are holding a magnifying glass, a torch and a horn flowing with water, while Earth and Air are depicted with fruit and a pair of doves. These scenes were probably executed by Charles-Nicolas Dodin (op. 1754-1802/3), one of Sèvres most skilled figure painters who specialized in this subject during the 1750s. Both compositions are in the manner of Boucher, the attributes of fire recalling his drawing 'L’Astronomie'. Since both sides of the vases are of equal importance, they were apparently intended to be seen in the round and might have been displayed in the middle of a room, against a mirror, or they might have been turned around according to which motive you wished to see.
    It is possible that these are the two examples of the model the dealer Lazare Duvaux bough in 1756 for Louis XV, in orderto be sent to the Duchess of Parma. Alternatively, were acquired by Louis XVI or Madame Lair in 1774.