About this artwork
This vase epitomizes the great achievements of the royal porcelain factory at Sèvres during the Napoleonic period. Sèvres 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 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 Sèvres factory; documents reveal the precise roles played by each artist in its creation. Napoleon’s chief architect, Charles Percier, created the Etruscan scroll-handled design. The vase was commissioned by Napoleon in 1805 but was produced only in 1813 and was still at the factory when he was exiled the following year. It was used as a diplomatic gift from his successor, King Louis XVIII, to Viscount Castlereagh, the British foreign secretary and, from 1821, the 2nd Marquess of Londonderry.
- Manufacture nationale de Sèvres
- Londonderry Vase
- Hard-paste porcelain, polychrome enamels, gilding, and gilt bronze mounts
- Mark: Sèvres mark for 1813-1815; (in gold) 30 Mars B. T. Drouet, 1813
- 137.2 cm (54 in.)
- Gift of the Harry and Maribel G. Blum Fund and the Harold L. Stuart Endowment