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Pair very rare Sèvres Empire vases Étrusques

Pair of very rare Sèvres Empire “vases Étrusques” with decoration attributed to Henri Bodson.  The form, created late in the 18th century after an antique example in the collection of Vivant-Denon, was modified at Sèvres in 1806. The vases are painted with an extremely intricate design simulating delicate relief carving in diagonal bands; one band with an alternating pair of rosettes, the other with differing individual neoclassical objects. The neck and base are decorated with simulated neoclassical relief moldings on purple and green grounds.

A drawing, still in the archives of the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres, (See: Nouvel-Kammerer, page 324) shows the same rare, if not unique, decoration on the proposal for a teapot. The moldings on the base and top of the teapot are nearly identical to those on the vases, the top molding being elongated for the vases. The drawing is dated 1813 (probably its year of execution) in the handwriting of the head of the decorating department, Claude-François Gérard; it is also inscribed by Alexandre Brogniart, the head of the manufactory, “Bodson 1815. mars vo St 1815”. Bodson worked at Sèvres from 1813-1821.

The rim, base and handles are gilded. The vases are unmarked, but have incised marks.  [Both round plinths damaged.]

A pair of vases Étrusques with cameo portraits of Napoleon was delivered in 1809 for the salles de bains at the Grand Trianon.


Incised marks:    “DC”   probably for the turner Charles-Louis Descoins (He was pensioned in 1820.)

                            “Li”     probably for the sculptor Auguste-Marie Liance (He died in 1820.)

                             “? 28


Height – 9¼" (23.5 cm.)                              Diameter – 4½" (11.4 cm.)


Exhibited: The Nassau County Museum. “Napoleon and His Age” 

                   January 28 – April 29, 2001


Literature: Odile Nouvel-Kammerer: Napoleon and the Art of the Empire Style; Abrams, New York, 2007. Page 324.


Height (ins.): 9.25 (23.5cm)      Length/Width (ins.): 4.5 (11.5cm)      Depth (ins.): 4.5 (11.5cm)
Origin: French, 18th century     Period: Empire



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