The exceptional bronze casting, in stunningly intricate detail, on this beautiful sculptural piece has been attributed to master metalworker Ferdinand Barbedienne. The piece takes the form of a bronze ewer on a large round basin platter and a tripod form stand. The stand rests on three gilt bronze human feet joined by a scrolling stretcher which is mounted at the centre with a bird with its wings outstretched. The top of the stand is mounted with floral and foliate decorations.
The round basin on top of the stand is decorated in relief with intricate Classical style motifs. The outer band features depictions of the academic disciplines: Music, Arithmetic, Geometry, Astrology, Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic and Knowledge, as represented by the goddess Minerva. The middle band features depictions of the four elements: Earth, Water, Air and Fire, and the central plaque is decorated with a woman holding a ewer, and is inscribed in Latin ‘Tempe Rantia’.
The ovoid form ewer, with scrolling handle, circular base and a long slender neck, is decorated is repousse gilt bronze with classical motifs and arabesques.
Stand and basin: height 81cm, width 45cm, depth 45cm
Ewer: height 29cm, width 15cm, depth 11cm