About This Artwork

Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
Sèvres, France, founded 1740
Designed by Charles Percier
French, 1764-1838
Decoration designed by Alexandre-Theodore Brogniart
French, 1739-1813
Painted by Gilbert Drouet (flowers and ornament)
French, 1785 - 1825
and Christophe-Ferdinand Caron (birds)
French, active 1792 - 1815

Londonderry Vase, 1813

Hard-paste porcelain, polychrome enamels, gilding, and gilt bronze mounts
137.2 cm (54 in.)
Mark: Sèvres mark for 1813-1815; (in gold) 30 Mars B. T. Drouet, 1813

Gift of the Harry and Maribel G. Blum Fund and the Harold L. Stuart Endowment, 1987.1

This vase epitomizes the great achievements of the royal porcelain factory at Sévres during the Napoleonic period. Sévres was a chief beneficiary of Napoleon's policy of resuscitating factories after the trauma of the French Revolution: demonstrating the supremacy of French craftsmanship, the emperor used sumptuous porcelain in his palaces as well as for state gifts. With its commanding contours, monumental size, rigorous symmetry, and unabashed splendor, this vase is a superb example of the Empire style, inspired by Greco-Roman art. It is a triumph of the collaborative practice of the Sévres porcelain factory; documents reveal the precise roles played by each artist in its creation. Napoleon's chief architect, Charles Percier, who helped establish the Empire style, created the Etruscan scroll-handled design featured on the vase. Commissioned by Napoleon around 1805, the vase ironically cemented a relationship that sealed the French emperor's defeat. Held by the factory until 1814, after Napoleon's exile, it was used as a diplomatic gift from his successor, King Louis XVIII, to Visount Castlereagh, the English secretary for foreign affairs.

— Entry, Essential Guide, 2013, p. 185.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Londonderry Vase
(Vase étrusque à rouleaux), 1813

France, Sèvres
Designed by Charles Percier (French, 1764-1838)
Decoration Designed by Alexandre Theodore Brongniart (d. 1813)
Painted by Gilbert Drouet, flowers and ornament, (1785-1825)
and Christopher Ferdinand Caron, birds, (active 1792-1815)
Manufactured by Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory
Hard-paste porcelain, gilding, ormolu mounts

Gift of The Harry and Maribel G. Blum Fund and the Harold L. Stuart Endowment

This extraordinary vase represents the great achievements of the Sèvres factory during the Napoleonic period. Napoleon himself recognized the political potential of Sèvres porcelain in providing sumptuous gifts which would demonstrate the supremacy of French craftsmanship. This vase exhibits some of the finest floral decoration of the period.
Originally commissioned by Napoleon around 1805, the vase was not released by the factory until 1814, after he had been exiled. The vase was used as a diplomatic gift by the newly restored Bourbon King, Louis XVIII, when he ordered his foreign minister, Talleyrand (1754-1838), to present it to the English Viscount Castlereagh, second marquis of Londonderry, on the eve of the Congress of Vienna.

Publication History

TIMELINE TRACING THE DEVELOPMENTS OF CERAMICS, Degree project for Art Education at The University of Arizona, 1993

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