• Vase
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • Date: c. 1765
  • Medium: Fluorspar, gilt bronze, plaster, resin and steel pin
  • Height: 30.8 cm
  • Width: 18 cm
  • Inv: F345
  • Location: Landing
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Further Reading
  • Displayed with its pair, F346, and a similar ewer, F347, as a garniture.
    Fluorspar comes from Derbyshire, and is commonly known as Blue John. Mining for it began in about 1760. Parisian marchands-merciers, or luxury goods dealers, were very inventive at selling new and exciting objects in their shops, so it is likely that the Blue John was cut in Derbyshire, then imported to Paris where the mounts were added and the objects sold in a fashionable shop. The style of the mounts on the vases, and their probable date, may indicate that the marchands-merciers were exploiting the decorative possibilities of fluorspar even before Matthew Boulton in England, who made his first substantial purchases of it in 1769.  
    Although these are displayed together as a garniture, the ewer is a little later than the vases and the mounts are different in style. The kneeling female satyr of the ewer shows the influence of the type of mounts first made by Pierre Gouthière (1732-1813) for Madame du Barry in about 1770, in which one ewer has a gilt-bronze kneeling satyr and the other a kneeling mermaid.