Tripod vase holder Paris last quarter of the 19th century


Tripod vase holder in gilt bronze and Sèvres ceramic, modeled by Pierre Gouthière. Circular base in cobalt blue Sèvres porcelain, with gilt decorations on the top and a wreath of myrtle leaves on the band; below, three gilded bronze feet with a spiral motif support the whole. The three bronze goat feet with an upside-down pine cone in the center rest on the top; the tripod is contained by a band decorated with Greek frets in the lower part, the uprights end with faun heads characterized by a long beard and ram’s horns, connected to each other by festoons of vine leaves and bunches of grapes. In the centre, descending from above following a spiral trajectory, is the figure of a snake with a body covered in scales and a wide open mouth. On the top there is a second pine cone-shaped element, opposite to the first, surmounted by a tuft of leaves arranged in a radial pattern and by the vase-holder plate, the latter embellished by a Greek fret and ending with a perforated railing element with an everted edge. These elements, originally separated by a Sèvres porcelain vase missing here, were superimposed and fixed together at a later time. The base has the Sèvres manufacture mark.

Dimensions: 113 x 50cm.


Historical-stylistic analysis:

The tripod, made in the Napoleon III era, is part of that revival of Louis XVI taste which took place in the second half of the 19th century and was characterized by the recovery of the aesthetic sense of the main French master craftsmen and decorators.
In this case, the model of inspiration has been traced to one of the works of Pierre Gouthière (1732-1813), one of the most important French draftsman and engraver of the time, active in Paris at the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. He chiseled bronzes for the furniture ordered by the royal house from Georges Jacob, Jean-Henri Riesener and from 1772 to 1777 he executed and gilded all the bronzes of Fontainebleau under the direction of Gabriel.

Pierre Gouthière tripod

The model in question, used to make tabletop perfume burners and vase holder tripods, has found a wider application in the former, while the latter require a greater executive effort linked above all to the larger dimensions. Also peculiar is the use of Sèvres porcelain for making part of the base and originally the upper vase, which is missing here. The original project was in fact conceived for the use of marble, as evidenced by the original drawings and by a perfume burner made by Pierre Gouthière and dated 1774-75, currently kept in the Wallace Collection in London.

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