With its delightful painted representations of the four seasons and bacchanalian scenes, this ‘bleu celeste’ garniture demonstrates the technical excellence of Sevres factory porcelain. On top of this, the porcelain vases are beautifully decorated with gilt bronze (ormolu) mounts, expertly cast by Henri Picard, the manufacturer and gilder to Emperor Napoleon III.
This garniture is comprised of a central jardinière and a pair of flanking vases. The jardinière features a wide porcelain body, which is topped by a gilt bronze guilloche-patterned neck. This is fitted with two geometric handles, which terminate in cherubs masks. The jardinière body is finely decorated with a continuous painting of putti playing together in a woodland setting. One putti holds the pinecone-tipped staff carried by followers of Bacchus (or Dionysus), the god of wine and ecstasy. Several putti ride on a goat, led on a harness by other putti. This painting is edged with jewelled and parcel gilt decoration, set against a bright ‘bleu celeste’ ground. The jardinière stands on a shaped gilt bronze stem, its top encircled by a band of stiff leaves, its middle by a laurel wreath, and its foot by beading. The jardinière is placed on a square gilt bronze plinth, which is decorated with grape-form finials, hung draperies and foliate motifs, and is set on four beaded toupie feet.
The pair of vases are similar to the jardinière in their design. They feature ovoid ‘bleu celeste’ porcelain bodies, which are decorated with continuous paintings of the four seasons, within gilt and jewelled frames. Winter is depicted in a scene showing putti huddled together on a sleigh in a snowy landscape, and autumn by cherubs reaping crops with a sickle. Spring is shown by cherubs wearing flower wreaths and dancing while holding garlands, and summer by putti picking grapes and drinking wine. The vases’ bodies are topped by pointed gilt and jewelled ‘bleu celeste’ porcelain lids, crowned by gilt bronze grape finials. Like the jardinière, the vases are fitted with gilt bronze cherub head handles and stems, and they are set on plinths, raised up on toupie feet. The gilt bronze bases of both the jardinière and pair of vases are signed ‘H. Picard’.
Jardinière- Height 35cm, width 34cm, depth 28cm
Pair of vases- Height 46cm, width 22cm, depth 16cm