Jean-Baptiste Machault d’Arnouville (1701-1794), surintendent des Finances, Chancelier de France, Ministre de la Marine, fig.1.
Charles Henri de Machault d’Arnouville (1743-1830), Maréchal de Camp. Pair de France
Eugène Jean Baptiste de Machault d’Arnouville (1785-1865)
Henriette de Machault d’Arnouville (1805-1864) who married in 1826 Léonce, Marquis de Vogüe (1805-1877)
Melchior, Marquis de Vogüe (1829-1916)
Sold at Christie’s New York, 24th May 2001, lot 315.
Exposition Retrospective des Porcelaines de Vincennes et de Sèvres, Union Central des Arts décoratifs, 1884, no 774, catalogue by O. du Sartel and E. Williamson
LITERATURE AND REFERENCES
Uncaptioned photograph taken in 1884, preserved in the Bibliothèque des Arts décoratifs, Paris, Albums Macié, 183-13, fig. 4.
Serge Granjean, "Un nouveau vase néo-classique de Sèvres au Louvre", Revue du Louvre, 3-1984, pp. 193-195.
Pierre Ennès, Musée du Louvre, Nouvelle acquisitions, 1980-1984, Paris, pp. 139-142.
Valérie Bougault, "La Passion du Sèvres", Connaissance des Arts, October 2004, n° 620, illustrated p. 62.
This shape was introduced in 1763, recorded in the January 1764 inventory in two sizes, named vase à médaillons, the mould valued at 60 and 48 livres respectively. It was subsequently named vase grec à médaillons. In the nineteenth Century, the plaster model and an anonymous drawing preserved in the Sevres archives were both labelled vase à festons.
As shown by the biscuit records a vase grec à festons was also introduced in 1763 in two size, and may be, as suggested by Rosalind Savill, the urn-shaped vase on a stem with applied husk garlands known from examples in the Royal Collection, the Wallace Collection and the musée Jacquemart-André, Paris (Rosalind Savill, Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain, Vol. I, C260, pp. 210-212).
Only two vases grec à médaillons appear in the Sèvres sale records but at this time, most of the vases are simply listed as pièce d’ornement or vase.
The first one mentioned as vase à médaillons is sold to the contrôleur général des Finances Henry Léonard Bertin in December 1764 at Versailles for 640 livres as part of a five pieces garniture together with a pair of vases Rosettes et guirlandes at 480 livres each and a pair of vases cassolettes at 336 livres each (MNS, Vy2, f°32v.)
It is very probably the central vase grec à médaillons of the first size flanked by two pairs of the two sizes of vases à rosettes dated 1764, formerly in the Michelham collection (Sotheby’s London, 8 November 1966, lot 101), published by Svend Eriksen and Geoffrey de Bellaigue as belonging to the Antique Porcelain Company (Sèvres Porcelain, London, 1987, pl. J and p. 117).
The second mention in the Sèvres sale records is for a vase grec à médaillon 2ème Gr. bleu céleste at 600 livres given as present to Machault d’Arnouville, Fig. 7, in December 1766 (MNS. Vy2, fol. 104).
A bleu céleste example of the second size in the musée de Saumur, France, is likely the one given to Machault in 1766 (illustrated by Marcelle Brunet and Tamara Préaud, Sèvres, des origines à nos jours, Fribourg, 1978, p. 168, pl. 131 and Serge Granjean, op. cit., fig. 10, p. 194).
Two others vases grec à médaillons of the second size are in public collections :
A green ground vase, dated 1764, is in the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, illustrated by Nina Birioukova, Natalia Kazakevitch, La porcelaine de Sèvres du XVIIIème siècle, 2005, n° 13, pp. 80-81.
A bleu nouveau example marked with a script B for the gilder Boulanger was given by Baron Elie de Rothschild in 1982 to the musée du Louvre, Paris (Serge Grandjean, op. cit., Pierre Ennès, op. cit.).
The first size is known by three examples, one mentioned above in the Antique Porcelain Company garniture, one with a bleu nouveau ground and gilt medallions formerly in Beurdeley père’s collection, sold Paris 9-10 April 1883, then in E. Secrétan’s Collection , sold Paris, galerie Charles Sedelmeyer, 4th July 1889, lot 275, Sotheby’s Paris, 5th July 2001, lot 52, then Christie’s New York, 23rd May 2002, lot 201, another one with a bleu nouveau ground was formerly in Mrs Lyne Stevens collection, sold Christie’s London, 9-17 May 1895, lot 480, it went in the collection of Mrs Meyer Sassoon then in the collection of Mrs Derek Fitzgerald, sold Sotheby’s London, 4 May 1965, lot 71, and in the collection of Sir Charles Clore, sold Christie’s Monaco, 6 December 1985, lot 5.
An example of the second size with bleu nouveau ground formerly in the collection of baron Gustave de Rothschild was sold in 1963, Christie’s London, 30 May 1963, lot 57.
Our vase was exhibited in 1884 in Paris and a photograph was taken at this time, fig. 4. The authors of the exhibition catalogue suggested an early Vincennes date of 1750-1752, probably because of the interlaced L’s mark without date letter.
One of the first neo-classical influence on Sevres porcelain can be seen as early as 1757 with the vitruvian scroll on the plateau carré à jours and the plateau tiroir à jours, but the Goût grec is really affirmed at Sevres in the early years of the 1760’s. The gadrooned body of the vase Choiseul, introduced in 1761 of which one dated 1763 is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, is characteristic of early neoclassical. _ In 1761, a vase pot pourri à vaisseau is produced on a base with triglyphs (Svend Eriksen, The James A de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor, Sèvres porcelain, 1968, n° 49, pp.140-141). Greek-key pattern is painted on the pair of vases pot pourri feuilles de mirte dated 1761 in the Wallace Collection (Rosalind Savill, op. cit., n° C257-8, p. 210-205), it is applied on the neck of the pair of vases cornet dated 1763 in the collection of the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey (Svend Eriksen, « Ducal Acquisitions of Vincennes and Sèvres », Apollo, LXXXII, 1965, pp. 484-491).
1763 is also the year of the production of a number of vases with neo-classical elements, the vase à bâtons rompus, the vase ferré, the vase à feuilles d’acante, the vase à rubans, and those for which the inspiration source is clearly indicated in the name : vase grec et à guirlandes, vase grec à festons, vase grec à rosettes and vase grec à médaillons.
Etienne Maurice Falconet could have been the designer of these new shapes. He was appointed in 1757 at the Sevres factory as director of sculpture, and provided models for biscuit figures and groups.
The Avantcoureur for January 1763 describes the annual exhibition of Sèvres porcelain at Versailles in December 1762 where some « vases sont de l’invention de M. Falconet » (Svend Eriksen, Early Neo-classicism in France, 1974, p. 112). _ Alternatively Jean Claude Duplessis père could be responsible for the design of our vase grec à médaillons ; a drawing of the vase grec à rosettes in the Sevres archives is inscribed vase grec Duplessis.
Several painters were in charge of the painting of grisaille medallions during the 1760’s. Jean Baptiste Etienne Genest, head of the painters’ workshop, received payment in 1768-1769 for the painting of têtes en médaillon on vases Carrache. He also received 72 livres for the trophies and têtes en bas relief on a vase octogone of the first size in 1769. He applied 87 têtes on twenty cups and saucers at 3 livres per head in 1769 (MNS, F. 11).
The overtime records for 1769 mention that Jean Louis Morin was paid 1 livres 10 sols each for painting 181 medallions on different pieces. Two 1769 cups and saucers painted with grisaille portraits on brown background medallions and signed by Morin are in the Wadsworth Atheneum (Linda Roth, French Eighteenth Century Porcelain at the Wadworth Atheneum, 2000, n° 102, p. 214)
Other candidates are Jacques Fontaine, who painted 160 portraits in grisaille in 1769, Charles Eloi Asselin, who painted 78 and Madame Nouahlier, who painted 48 heads.