Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Londonderry Vase 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

Detail of Painting by Gilbert Drouet, flowers and ornament, (1785-1825)

Artist Christopher Ferdinand Caron painted the birds, (active 1792-1815)

This vase exhibits some of the finest floral decoration of the Empire period.

This time last year I was taken a cross country drive from Baltimore to San Diego and stopped in Chicago along the way. I'm happy I did I got a chance to see this wonderful extraordinary large Sèvres porcelain vase. It represents the great achievements of the Sèvres factory during the Napoleonic period. Napoleon himself ordered the Sèvres porcelain vase as a sumptuous dignitary gift which would demonstrate the supremacy of fin fine French craftsmanship. This vase exhibits some of the finest floral decoration of the Empire 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.

The Londonderry Vase was one of the most ambitious undertakings of the imperial porcelain manufactory at Sèvres. With its commanding contours, monumental size, symmetrical decorations, and unabashed splendor, the vase is a superb example of the Empire style, inspired by Roman imperial art. Designed while Napoleon was emperor by his chief architect Charles Percier a neoclassical French architect, interior decorator and designer, who worked in a close partnership with Pierre François Léonard Fontaine, but produced after the Restoration, it was presented by Louis XVIII to the second marquess of Londonderry on the eve of the 1814 Congress of Vienna.                                      
Detail of ormolu mounts

Detail of ormolu mounts



Height: 137.2 cm (54 in.)


  1. Hello,

    If you want to see more works from the Napoleonic period, you can go to my blog...

    and others museums (on my blog) : Fontainebleau - Malmaison...


  2. Hi Jean-Louis Gautreau thanks for your site as I love french museums and decorative arts from the empire period.