Sèvres porcelain factory
Vase cygne à roseau en buire 1781
Hard-paste porcelain, lapis ground and gilded decoration | .1 46.9 x 23.5 x 16.8, .2 47.6 x 24.0 x 16.8 cm | RCIN 4965
These vases are among the most extravagant ever put into production at Sèvres, and are formed entirely of hard-paste porcelain, fashioned to simulate the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli and gilt bronze mounts.
The sculptural elements are decorated in two tones of green and yellow gold, with the handle and mouth in the form of a swan and bulrushes sprouting from a rocky base. The accomplished rendering of the ground colour was achieved by a sophisticated process of applying layers of light tones of blue to convey the subtle gradations of true lapis lazuli.
This is one of only two pairs of this version known to survive today.
Text adapted from French Porcelain for English Palaces, Sèvres from the Royal Collection, London, 2009
ProvenanceBought by George IV from Robert Fogg for £126; his bill dated 30 June 1812 reads ‘2 Seve Porcelaine Vases blue ground Lapis Lazuli, bird handles’. Delivered to Carlton House on 3 July and placed in the Bow Room, Principal Floor, as recorded by Benjamin Jutsham, who entered them in his receipts’ ledger in October 1812, describing them in exactly the same terms as Fogg. As noted in pencil in the margin of the ledger, they were subsequently moved to the Anti Room, Basement Floor, where they were recorded in 1826: ‘No.94. A pair of blue and gold Seve Porcelain Ewers, the bodies painted to imitate Lapis Lazuli, the tops formed as Swans in gold, the bottoms, gold rock work, with reeds rising and joining the necks of the Swans, to form handles – 19 In. high.’
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