The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Vase 'à tête de sphinx'
  • Vase and Cover
  • Vase 'à tête de sphinx'
  • Manufacture de Sèvres
  • Attributed to Charles-Nicolas Dodin (1734 - 1803), Painter
  • Sèvres, France
  • c. 1770 - 1775
  • Soft-paste porcelain and gilt-bronze, painted and gilded
  • Object size: 37.5 x 22.8 cm
    Height: 44.4 cm, with gilt-bronze stand
  • Incised mark: 'PT'
    Incised mark: 'R'
    Label: '334' Printed
    Label: '65' Printed
  • C327
  • Back State Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The model derives its name from the Sphinx heads supported by scrolled pilasters on each side. Sphinxes were a popular motif in the seventeenth century which saw a revival in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century neoclassical design.
    With their ringlets and exotic head-dresses, the figures on these vases are similar to those designed for the gardens of Louis XIV.
    Decorated with a green ground, the vase’s painted decoration shows a trophy on the back and a mythological scene, probably painted by Charles-Nicolas Dodin (op. 1754-1802), on the front: Arethusa fleeing from Alpheus, as Diana enshrouds the naiad in a cloud to protect her from the love-struck river god. With slight alterations, the composition is taken from Étienne Fessard’s engraving of 1737 (copying a Tremolières painting), an example of which was acquired by the Sèvres manufactory in 1765.
    The piece may have been part of a garniture with two similarly decorated ‘vases Bachelier à anses tortillées’ also in the Wallace Collection (see C294-5), possibly bought by Madame du Barry in 1773. Later, the three pieces came into the collection of the 2nd Marquess of Abercorn in Bentley Priory, where they were displayed until 1752-3.
    The gilt-bronze stand is probably English and dates from the nineteenth century.