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Pair of Cordelier vases

Sèvres Factory

White Hall
Polychrome painted and gilded porcelain; gilded bronze
h 93 cm
Pitti Objects of Art 1911 nos. 928-929

Under the landscapes: “Vue du bassin du canal de l’Ourcq/Près la barrière de La Villette”; “La Nouvelles route d’Italie par le Simplon/Le lac de Genève et les Rochers de Meillerie”

The pair of vases has a Cordelier shape introduced in the Sèvres Factory in 1801, from a reworked late 18th-century model. Both have gilded bronze handles modelled in chamois protomes, the development of the horns defining the volutes used as grips. The surface is instead covered by a uniform background in dark blue with gold threads and decorative motifs, where in the upper part the refined swan is recognisable interspersed with garlands of flowers also found in the entrée and dessert set, currently kept in the Porcelain Museum of Pitti Palace (Silver with estimate 1911 nos. 873-900). The commissioning of our pair of vases can be traced back to Napoleon I, who donated it to Ferdinand III Habsburg Lorraine, together with other porcelains from the French factory currently kept in Pitti Palace (Pitti Art Objects 1911 nos. 158, 212, 486, 1525, 1518 and 1890 n. 8749), as they were transferred there by Ferdinand III himself when he returned there in 1814, reacquiring the grand-ducal title.

On the front of each of our specimens, accompanied by a caption and embellished with a gilded frame, are reproduced views taken from paintings by the Frenchman Jean-Louis Demarne made known through the engravings. The decision to use them to decorate these vases was probably made by the client, since it was Napoleon who promoted the creation of the places depicted there. In 1801 he had in fact ordered the construction of the road to the Simplon pass, in the Swiss Valais, while in 1808 the works ordered by him for the construction of the Ourcq canal and the Villette basin were completed.

Text by
Rita Balleri
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