The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Vase 'pot pourri feuilles de mirte', of the second size
  • Pair of Pot-pourri Vases and Covers
  • Vase 'pot pourri feuilles de mirte', of the second size
  • Manufacture de Sèvres
  • Probably Jean-Claude Chambellan Duplessis, the Elder (1695 - 1774), Designer
  • Sèvres, France
  • c. 1761
  • Soft-paste porcelain, painted and gilded
  • C257, Height: 27.6 cm
    C258, Height: 28 cm
  • Incised mark: 'Pn' and a square
    Incised mark: A scrolling 'N'
  • C257-8
  • Back State Room
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Pot-pourri vases were usually filled with mixtures of dried flowers, herbs and spices, sprinkled with perfumed water to mask unpleasant odours and scent the rooms. This wonderfully sumptuous model derives its name from the sculptural myrtle branches twining upwards from its stem and painted on the foot. The myrtle theme probably refers to specific pot-pourri mixtures which included the dried leaves.
    The pear-shaped vases have large entwined scrolls forming handles and continuing in a serpentine line over the neck. Openings at the neck and cover would have allowed the scent to permeate.
    Decorated with a green ground, both vases are painted with pairs of birds in landscapes, similar to those on another vase in the collection, C254. Created by Sèvres chief designer Jean-Claude Duplessis père (op. 1745/8-1774), the source for this extravagant model may have been the design for an ecclesiastical hanging lamp by Pierre Germain II, published in 1748. Prior to his activity at the Sèvres manufactory, Duplessis had worked with metal and was therefore certainly familiar with the work of the silversmith Germain.
    Although its undulating forms clearly make it a rococo model, the painted Greek-key pattern on its foot marks the beginning fashion for neo-classical elements in Sèvres designs.