In their painted decoration, these vases demonstrate the technical excellence of Sèvres factory porcelain. While the porcelain vases alone would be impressive enough, the items have also been decorated with fine gilt bronze mounts, cast by Henri Picard, the manufacturer and gilder to Napoleon III.
The porcelain vases have been expertly painted with scenes representing the four seasons. Spring is illustrated by two children carrying fruit, and summer by three children collecting grapes. Winter is represented by two children huddled around a fire, and autumn by three children harvesting crops. These cherubic figures inhabit naturalistic woodland settings. Gilt and jewelled frames enclose the painted scenes, offset against ‘bleu celeste’ grounds. The paintings are signed, ‘Donzelle pt’. The vases are marked with Sèvres blue-painted interlocking ‘L’s, which enclose the date-letter ‘A’.
Picard has fitted the porcelain vases with gilt bronze mouths, set with geometric handles that terminate in cherub heads. The vases are mounted onto square gilt bronze plinths, which are decorated with beading, pinecone finials, draped fabrics, and foliate motifs. The plinths are set onto beaded toupie feet, some of which are signed, ‘H. Picard’.