Pair of Sèvres Vases Etrusque Carafe

  • This item was purchased by Musée National du Château de Malmaison.

Pair of Sèvres Vases Etrusque Carafe, supplied to Napoléon for the Empress Josephine on December 10th 1807, gilded in the Greek taste on a bleu nouveau ground, the fronts with scenes of a lady winding thread from a standing swift, a leaping hound to her left, and, on the other, a lady at her embroidery frame, the backs with bold double anthemia.

Height  16½"  (42cm).

Provenance :-  Thurn und Taxis Collection, Schloss St. Emmeram, Regensburg.

Printed red mark underneath, 'M.Imple. de Sevres'. Incised mark of a cross of Lorraine.
Also, printed on a label and again in black ink, 'St.E. 5172' and a handwritten label, 'Slaudorf(?) 83 Rauchsalon'.
Also, written in black ink, 'Dias P 528-530'.

One vase with repairs to the rim and neck.

This shape of vase in its present form was designed in 1806. It probably copies an Etruscan vase (hence the name) from the Vivant-Denon Collection. This vase had been purchased by Louis XVI in 1786 and has remained at Sèvres to this day.

It is possible to identify these two vases with those which appear in the register of deliveries to the sales room ('entrees au magasin de vente') in September and December 1807:-
September, 1807: 'un vase Etrusque Caraffe, fond beau bleu, figure et decor en or bruni a l'effet'.December, 1807: 'un vase Etrusque Caraffe, fond beau bleu, figure et ornement en or bruni a l'effet'.

Each vase had a cost price of 400 francs, and a price of 500 francs each was set for their sale. The vases bear reference numbers in the 'entrees au magasin' register (207/10 and 211/35) which identify them with the two vases mentioned in December 1807 in the register of sales to the Imperial Household:-
'Livre pour le Compte de l'Empereur a SMte L'Imperatrice d'apres son ordre Le 10 Decembre 1807 207/10 & 211/35 2 Vases forme etrusque fond beau bleu figures en or bruni a l'effet & Paire      1000'.

Further documents confirm the identity of the artists involved. Alexandre-Evariste Fragonard, son of Jean-Honore Fragonard, designed both gilt figures, which were called 'La Brodeuse' and 'La Devideuse', or 'La Fileuse'.

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