Tapered ‘Fuseau’ Vase

Sèvres Manufactury, Tapered “fuseau” vase, 2nd size, 1812
Dark blue (“beau bleu”) ground, reserve with portrait of the Emperor in his Coronation robes Hard-paste porcelain, gilt bronze
H. 54.5 cm
Inv. 1165, acquired 2002

Founded in Vincennes in 1740, the Paris porcelain manufactury was transferred to Sèvres in 1756 and placed under royal patronage. It supplied every regime from this time on, and from 1800 began providing a propaganda service for Napoleon Bonaparte. Besides the sumptuous porcelain tableware destined for the imperial palaces, it supplied numerous vases, tables and even columns celebrating the major events of his reign. Between 1806 and 1813 the Sèvres manufactury produced only eleven tapered “fuseau” vases decorated with a portrait of the Emperor: one on a pale blue ground, six on a blue ground and four on a green ground, some of which were part of a pair with a corresponding piece decorated with a portrait of the empress, Josephine until 1809, then Marie-Louise until the end of the Empire. Of these eleven vases, eight reproduced the bust of Napoleon dressed in his Coronation robes after the painting by François Gérard. Our vase is one of the latest examples in the series, and features the richest ornamentation of all: the body of the vase is covered in a semy of bees. It entered the salesroom on 6 May 1812 at a manufacture price of 1153 F and a sales price of 2000 F. Delivered to the Tuileries Palace on 28 December 1812, it was offered in 1813 by Empress Marie-Louise as an “étrenne”, or Christmas/New Year gift, to the Duchess of Elchingen, wife of Maréchal Ney, maiden name Aglaé-Louise or Eglé Auguié (1782-1854).

Photographs © Fondation Napoléon – Patrice Maurin-Berthier

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